Fort Weyr – Living Caverns

This cavern, having been created by bubbles in the volcanic flow of this extinct volcano, has a breathtaking ceiling — a vast dome that arches high above the heads of the weyrfolk that scurry around beneath it. A hollow echo can be heard from loud enough noises, and the chatterings of various firelizards are consequently multiplied into a chaotic babble. All in all, the living cavern is a loud place.
Tables are scattered around the room, apparently in no particular order. Over to one side near the kitchens, two medium sized serving tables are constantly spread with snacks, klah, and other goodies. The tables look worn, yet perfectly fitted to the atmosphere of the caverns. In the ‘corners’ of the cavern, smaller two and four place tables are set up for more private talks or just a less chaotic atmosphere in which to eat.

Nayale has been busting her butt all day. While the girl is used to a spot of hard work here and there, she wasn’t quite used to -this- type of work. Carrying the heavy dishes to and from the kitchens has been a tiring experience. Lucky for her, the kitchen staff has apparently taken pity on the newly knotted candidate and has given her a short break. At the moment she’s sitting at one of the larger tables, which is pretty abandoned being that it’s that period of time between lunch and dinner. Only stragglers or those who’ve missed their noon meal are here, nibbling on snacks to tide them over until dinner. Naya has her hands wrapped around a piping hot mug of klah, trying to keep fingers warm. To her, even the living caverns feel cool after living for so long down in Ierne.

Kimmila is on a totally different time table. It’s earlier in Western, thus, time for lunch! Why isn’t she eating in, you know…her /home/ weyr? Who knows. But she’s here now, stepping inside and tugging off her gloves, shoving them into her back pocket and unfastening her coat with one hand. Beneath, her feline talon necklace bounces against her thick blue sweater, as she walks towards the drink tables to pour herself a mug of klah. Klah first. Social second.

The stores is all sorts of fun for working in. Organizing shelves, pulling out crates, stacking, putting them back in a new order then filing papers. All sorts of fun, really. Such fun and heavy work requires a break for lunch, as does any job — they’re just late. From the kitchen Deitra comes, her hair looking more frazzled than normal with dust covering some parts of her hair and looking like she was dipped head first into a pile of the stuff. A place it fetched and whatever is left on the serving tables is taken to fill the plate as much as possible before fetching a mug. That is when the visiting Kimmila is spotted and the huntress-turned-candidate grins widely, “you! Double-crosser.” A wink is given to the bluerider, “how’re you doin’? Ma’am.” The formalities tacked on in an afterthought before she’s drifting to settle near Nayale, placing down her plate and mug before digging into one of her pockets and plopping a pair of gloves down onto the table. “Yer lookin’ cold, yer free ta use those, if yer wantin’. Just a spare.”

Nayale’s dark eyes follow Kimmila’s appearance like a bouncing ball, or perhaps they’re following the bounce of that necklace on the rider’s sweater. It’s only when another voice speaks that she’s drawn away from the distraction and a bright smile spreads wide. “Thank you so much. I think I forgot my gloves back in Irene. I didn’t really have time to go digging through all of our winter stuff that’s all packed up.” She admits with a flush before quickly snagging the offered gloves. She reaches up and curls a finger around one of the corkscrew curls of her hair, tugging at it gently as her attention slips back over to Kimmila and the words Deitra said to her get a curious arched brow.

Kimmila sips her klah and turns, adding a bit of cream to it and letting green eyes settle on Deitra. A crooked grin pulls at the corner of her lips and she chuckles. “And you, Weyrleader Assaulter. How’s Candidacy treating you?” Those green eyes flick to Nayale and she stares for a moment, sizing the younger woman up. “Ierne?”

“Never good ta forget yer gloves, but, ain’t sayin’ I blame you or nothin’. Gloves’re small compared ta other things you gotta make sure you’ve got.” Deitra chuckles and lifts her mug to sip at. “Yer free ta keep ‘em. Got a few of m’own already, got some new ones last Turn.” A drink is taken from the mug and she releases a sound of pleasure before settling the mug back upon the table. “How’re you settlin’ in? Not gettin’ horridly lost? ‘m sure I could show you ’round later.” The woman promises before looking towards Kimmila again, gesturing for the bluerider to join them. “Good ‘nough. Nothin’ like I thought it was.” Laughter slips from her lips before her fingers are picking at some of the food on her plate before settling on scooping up some greens. “Better’n I thought, at least.”

“Ierne, that’s right. I’ve lived there most of my life. I haven’t lived somewhere cold since I was a baby.” Nayale is all smiles for the bluerider, oblivious to the scrutiny she’s getting put through. She lifts her mug and takes a careful sip so that she doesn’t scald the roof of her mouth. “Well, I probably need to buy a new pair anyway, honestly. I haven’t lived somewhere cold since I was a child. I hardly doubt they will still fit.” She gestures as if she’s trying to shove her hand into a small pair of gloves. “It might be pretty funny to watch me try though. Oh, and I don’t think I could keep them. Maybe I’ll buy a new pair from those traders who are at the weyr? I probably need more than just a pair of gloves though.” A scarf and a warm winter hat would be nice to protect sensitive ears. “I always get lost, so it’s nothing new. Just have to ask Nyekal, I bet he has some humorous stories.”

Kimmila frowns a little bit at Deitra, even as she’s walking over to sit at the end of the table. “You’re hard to understand, sometimes,” she points out. “Out of curiosity, what were you thinking?” she adds, leaning back in her chair and holding her klah mug between both of her hands. “You can get gloves from the store caverns,” the bluerider points out. “I’m sure they don’t want you to pay for them. Fort treats its Candidates better than that. All your winter clothes should be in the caverns. Fort treats its Candidates well. Like guests and potential future riders, and all that.” She shrugs, sipping her klah once more.

Deitra shrugs once, “ain’t needin’ ‘em, so if yer wantin’ ‘em, you can take ‘em.” The huntress offers once more before popping the greens into her mouth and chewing, lingering in silence until the food actually goes down. “Oh right. The traders. Ain’t got a look at ‘em, yet. Figure I will later.” More greens are scooped up, but not placed in her mouth right away. “You’ll likely figure yer way ’round soon ‘nough.” The greens are again popped into her mouth, grey eyes considering Kimmila, brows lifting. “Am I?” Is that a hint of a smile playing at her lips? Maybe. “Was thinkin’ they were just doin’ chores, all day aside from eatin’. Didn’t know ’bout the lessons.”

Nayale looks thoughtful for a moment before offering a shrug, “I’d rather buy some, gives me an excuse to spend some marks.” And irritate Nyekal with her girlish love of ‘shopping’, which is always a plus. “But thank you for letting me know.” Words are offered in a near purr before her attention dances back to Deitra. “I’ll just borrow them for a bit, if you don’t mind?” The gloves are fingered lightly before she looks towards the bowl, giving a soft sigh. “I saw them when I was brought in, but I haven’t had the chance to go check out what they have yet. Been busy you know, settling in and all that silly stuff.”

Kimmila perks up a little bit, her brows lifting. “Traders?” she asks, glancing around the Cavern as if said traders would be in here, with a table set up or something. She snorts at Deitra, an amused smile pulling at her lips. “Dragonets don’t care how well you can do the dishes or clean latrines. We’d be in a sorry state, indeed, if we impressed people who knew nothing about dragon care.” She glances at Nayale with brows furrowed, maybe because of the purr. “Suit yourself,” she says with a little shrug. “Who’s Nyekal?”

“Borrowin’ is fine.” Deitra agrees with a single nod before she’s poking at her food, quite literally, before frowning in though. “Shoulda snuck out sooner. Woulda had better food.” With a shrug, she pinches a tubber piece between her fingers before lifting it to her mouth and popping it in again. “‘m free in a bit. You wanna go together?” There’s a notable pause before grey eyes peer at Nayale. “Shells, ‘m not sure of yer name. ‘m Deitra.” Kimmila’s snort has the young woman laughing, “‘m sure if they did, that’d be rather strange. ‘m enjoyin’ the lessons.”

“Although having a hard working candidate is always good, since baby dragons are so much work. Right? Knowledge won’t necessarily help if you’re dropping over in exhaustion.” Nayale adds her logic to the conversation before falling silent again. The furrow browed look that Kimmila gives her just cause the teen to blush. “Nyekal is my twin brother. He’s around the weyr somewhere. I made Th’ero let him come here when I was searched. We’ve never been apart.” It’s only when Deitra is bringing up names that Naya gets all flustered, nearly knocking her mug over. “Sorry! I’m Nayale, nice to meet you Deitra.” A hand quickly shoots out towards the fellow candidate.

Kimmila leans back in her chair, eyes moving from Nayale to Deitra and back again. “Kimmila,” she offers, though she doesn’t seem at all bothered that she didn’t mention it before. “Like to go see the traders too. ‘sides, you probably need a rider escort or something.” Never mind that she’s not a /Fort/ rider. Just ignore that. “Oh, twin brother? Did he get searched too?” Then she laughs, “You both got Searched by Th’ero, then. All the way down in Ierne? Did he just…bump into you or did you assault him with fruit?”

“‘m sure the chores’re meant ta build stamina. Same with the workin’ out, keepin’ us in shape and buildin’ up the endurance.” Deitra adds in to Nayale’s statement before pinching at a bit more food and popping it into her mouth, chewing quietly as Naya speaks about her Search. Laughter starts, partially choked out as the other candidate flusters; quickly she clears her throat and uses her clean hand to shake Nayale’s. “Well met.” Breathless laughter continues and she smiles widely before attention shifts towards Kimmilay. “Come with us. It’ll be fun.” As for the talk of Th’ero, the woman’s laughter begins all over again. “Assault him with fruit? Shells. Assaultin’ the Weyrleader, all you need ta get Searched.”

Nayale latches onto Deitra’s hand, shaking it far too energetically and holds onto it for several seconds than should probably be appropriate. She then shakes her head, causing curls to dance around her head like tiny springs. “He didn’t get searched. I suppose that might be weird, being we’re twins and all.. but Th’ero said he could still come.” The assaulting with fruit comment has the girl in a fit of giggles, “Oh dear me, no. I was just admiring his dragon. He’s such a lovely bronze!” And this is where it might be time to judge the girl’s sense of judgment. “I told Th’ero I’d impress the most amazing bronze, once he searched me. I don’t think he believed me though.” Her shoulders slump, her mood instantly turning somber. “I could definitely use a bit more stamina.” She admits before adding, “The carving I help my mother with isn’t exactly very good for physical activity.”

Kimmila nods, “Sure, caring for a dragon’s hard work. Have to weed out the lazy and build up the strength of those willing to tough it out. It’s hard physical and mental work, to raise a dragon.” She smirks a little bit. “Sure, I’ll come with,” she agrees to Deitra’s suggestion, nodding and taking another sip of her klah. Then she chuckles. “Some people think Velokraeth is funny looking, but Varmiroth and I don’t really think that. But you? Impress a bronze? That’s never going to happen. Blues are better anyway,” she says with a boastful tilt to her chin. “You want to build stamina, swimming and running are the best things for it. Swimming’s tough here, come winter, but you should start going on morning runs, before your chores and lessons start. Before breakfast, even. That’d show some true dedication. I used to run.” Used to. “What sorts of carving?”

Deitra simply indulges Nayale as she latches onto her hand, waiting patiently until finally released before she’s returning to eating. “Was nice of Th’ero ta allow him ta come.” Her mug is drawn in and she takes a drink, listening to Nayale’s retell her story. A chuckle comes forth and she considers the other candidate beside her. “‘m not certain he did, either, bein’ that bronzes seem ta Impress men.” She quiets for a moment before offering, “I like browns. Would be the best ta go huntin’ with.” Kimmila’s agreement to come with earns her a grin from the young woman before she’s working to finish off her lunch.

Nayale’s mouth drops open at Kimmila’s admission, “People think Velokraeth’s funny looking? B-b-but how? He’s so pretty! All those different colors. I’m glad you and yours don’t feel the same though. It’s really a shame people think that way.” As for the next comment about her and bronze, she just snorts, lifting her head up, “I’d make a great bronzerider.” She sniffles briefly before brightening, “My father rides blue. It’s a fine color too. They’re so fast. Oh! And brown, yes, browns are very sturdy and would be a great hunting partner. But honestly I don’t care what color dragon chooses me, if one does. They’re all wonderful in their own right.” She falls silent, getting an almost glazed happy look on her face. Animals, dragons included, have always made the girl giddy. She really should have gone into the beastcraft. “I did a lot of swimming at Ierne, but up here I can’t seem to catch my breath. Maybe it’s because of the cold.” The air sometimes is so cold it burns going down. And she definitely doesn’t look as if she’s going to get used to the climate change anytime soon. “Mostly little figures, but I used to do design work on different types of things. Furniture, jewelry boxes, and whatever anyone else wanted.” It’s the only artsy thing that Nayale is good at. Dark blue gaze settles comfortably on Deitra again, “It -was- nice of him to let Nyek come. But he’ll be useful to the weyr, just you wait.”

Kimmila nods, sipping her klah. “He’s nice like that,” she murmurs. “Browns? They’re alright, I guess. But blues are quick and more maneuverable. Not as clumsy or lumbering. But…” She shrugs. “It’s the personality more than anything, I guess. And if you impress you don’t much /care/ their color. And, just so you know, Varmiroth is an excellent hunter.” Which is a total lie, but she has to stick up for the blues. Represent! Green eyes stare at Nayale and blink slowly as the girl rambles on. “Oh. Um. Yeah, well…” Kimm totally lost the thread of that conversation. “Probably the altitude. You’ll get used to it,” she says, her shrug a little dismissive of that problem. “Love to see some of your carvings sometime,” she adds, and then blinks. “Well, I mean, Varmiroth would. He’s…artsy.”

Deitra clearly has nothing more to say as Nayale goes on about Velokraeth’s colorings, simply shoving food in her mouth and keeping commentary to herself especially as the other girl insists on her ability to become a bronzerider. And then onto the topic of other colors, grey eyes only blink as she continues to shove her mouth full. Once chewing is down and she finally manages to swallow, the huntress reaches for her mug and takes a long drink before shrugging. “Prolly the cold. Ain’t like yer wantin’ ta swim in winter in Fort, either. Yer likely ta freeze somethin’ off. Runnin’ll keep you warm.” She keeps quiet on the talk of figures, taking that moment to take another drink. “‘m sure he will. Ain’t said otherwise.” The talk of Kimmila’s lifemate earns a careful look from the woman, grey eyes scanning before she relents with a soft, “‘m sure he is. Gotta hunt ta eat, anyway.” Not that eating leads to clean kills.

“Exactly, it’s more about what they’re like than anything else.” Nayale bobs her head a few times at that. Her rambling seems to have gone on without the girl noticing, because she doesn’t look embarrassed at the last for her mouth running away with her. “Oh, the altitude, I didn’t even think about that. That’s probably it. I hope I get used to it quickly, it’s rather tiresome. And don’t worry, I won’t be trying to take a swim up here. I’m not -that- crazy.” Just crazy enough to think she could impress a bronze is all. She suddenly drains the rest of her klah and stands up, “I should probably get back to my chores, it was nice meeting you both. I’m sure I’ll see you around. And I’ll make sure to carve something to show your Varmiroth Kimmila.” And with that the teen is skipping her way back towards the kitchen to start helping with bringing the dinner meal out.

Kimmila chuckles softly. “You /can/ swim up here, by the way,” she remarks blandly to Deitra. “It’s just not recommended unless you know exactly what you’re doing. It can be quite invigorating, though. And yeah, dragons have to hunt to eat so you’d think they’d be pretty good at it.” She shrugs. Sitting at the end of a table, sipping a mug of klah with cream, she talks idly with Deitra. Does she live here now, or something? As Nayale leaves, Kimm just gives her a little head nod. “Have to be careful, or else Varmiroth will want to uproot a tree and carve something to give back to her,” she murmurs under her breath.

“Enjoy yer chores, Nayale.” A wave is given in farewell before Deitra’s shifting to reposition herself to take up more space at the table. “Yeah, ‘m not that crazy, though. Ain’t sure I’d know what ‘m doin, either. ‘m just certain I’d freeze somethin’ off.” Laughter follows, amused at the potential of losing a limb or something to that nature. Fingers begin to trace along the plate, scooping up left over sauces and such before popping her finger in her mouth, sucking it clean before repeating. “Is he good at carvin’, though?”

In wanders another soul to the living caverns, perhaps seeking some respite from the brisk wind outside or the cold. Th’ero pauses by the entrance for a moment to slip the gloves from his hands and then run his fingers through the mess that is his hair. From the way the Weyrleader face is tinged with red, it’s clear he’s been outdoors for some time and perhaps just returned. So it could come of no surprise when he simply heads for the serving tables without so much of an upward glance. The food is ignored in favor of his usual klah and after pouring a mug; Th’ero turns back and would have headed straight for his usual corner if his gaze hadn’t caught a glimpse of something familiar in passing. And while he can’t quite overhear Kimmila or Deitra, it doesn’t stop him from wandering over. “Afternoon to both of you.” Th’ero says, managing a slight smile and nod for both bluerider and candidate. “Mind if I join you?”

Kimmila shrugs, “Depends on the day,” she admits with a faint smile. “Sometimes he can focus and do beautiful things. Other times he rushes, or gets distracted, or hates what he’s doing and then he’ll destroy it. Sometimes he loves it so much he refuses to let it out of his sight. Until he forgets about it, finds it again, and inevitably denies that he’d make anything so horrible.” She sighs, rolling her eyes a little bit. “He’s a very, very odd duck.” Her attention is diverted by Th’ero’s arrival, and the bluerider’s smile widens in greeting. “Hey. You and I need to get our hair cut.” Hello, random? “I’m sick of mine, and yours is a mess.” And that’s her way of saying, ‘Sure, Th’ero, go ahead and join us!’ That and her lifted foot pushing out a chair across from her in invitation.

Deitra’s gaze is drawn by Th’ero as he arrives, offering a cheerful smile instead of responding verbally to his greeting. “Nah. Yer free ta join us…” Her smile grows a little wider before attention resettles upon the bluerider, brows lifting for the talk of her lifemate before letting out a soft sound of consideration. “Sounds like he’s rather complicated, all over the place in his feelin’s.” A chuckle and her fingers continue to scoot around the plate to clear it entirely. “Ain’t a bad thing. ‘m just curious ta see a dragon’s carving.”

“Absolutely not.” Th’ero says and putting a stop that random suggestion as he slides into the offered chair pushed out for him, setting his mug down on the table top in all one single movement. “Well, you can get your hair cut Kimmila. But I’m not touching mine.” The last is said in a tone that pretty much says ‘end discussion’. Deitra’s smile is returned with another nod and then the Weyrleader busies himself by taking another sip from his mug as his gaze flicks from candidate to bluerider curiously. “What’s this about carving?” Th’ero asks after a pause, head tilting a little to the side.

Kimmila eyes Deitra for a long moment, and then hisses under his breath, “Salute? Just because you ambushed him with snowballs doesn’t mean you can ignore protocol.” In fact, it should probably make her salute him /more/. ‘End discussion’? Yeah, right. “Why not?” She can at least /ask/, right? “Oh, that new Candidate, Nayale, she carves. She’s going to do something to show to Varmiroth.” The bluerider shrugs.

Deitra blinks at Kimmila’s hissing, straightening just a bit. “Oh, right.” A quick salute is given, and another for good measure. “‘m not used ta salutin’ everyone yet.” The huntress sighs a wipes her hands off on a napkin that lingers on the table. “And I was sayin’ that I was curious ta see what Varmiroth would carve. Kimmila said that he’d likely do somethin’ in return.”

Th’ero quirks a brow upwards when Kimmila hisses something at Deitra, too absorbed in his thoughts to catch the words. But when the bluerider insists on bringing up the issue of cutting or not cutting his hair again, the Weyrleader smirks. “Because I don’t want to?” he says stubbornly to her, though he does soften a little. “I like my hair long.” Th’ero says with a slightly defensive look and almost chokes on the next sip he takes from his mug. “Nayale?” he says between coughs to clear his throat. “I’d be careful around her.” Comes a warning next, before he’s smiling crookedly. “Good natured, but… well, I guess you’ll find out if she’s off to see Varmiroth.” When Deitra is suddenly straightening and saluting him, Th’ero pauses just long enough to offer a slightly awkward salute himself before shooting a look to Kimmila, no doubt putting two and two together. Must they be so formal? “A carving for a carving then?” he muses to both of them, before chuckling.

Kimmila nods with approval at Deitra’s salute – she is her mother’s daughter, after all – and glances questioningly at Th’ero. “Hmm,” is all she says to his stubborn hair-ness. Though that ‘hmm’ and apparent dismissal of the topic is anything but. He’ll be asked about it again later, for sure. “What happened with Nayale?” is her next probing question. “Find out what? Don’t know if she’s off to see Varmiroth right this second. But yeah, who knows what she’s doing. I only just met her.” She shrugs, and sips at her klah.

“Nayale /did/ purr ta Kimmila.” Deitra adds in, idle, thoughtful as she lifts her mug to consider and woe as she finds it empty. Th’ero earns a brief smile before she’s back to peering into her mug. “Sounds like.” But then, she’s quickly fleeing the table to refill her mug. Her return isn’t as quick, taking her time in meandering back over to the table and taking her seat. “What kinda things has he carved, b’fore? You ever save any of ‘em?”

There’s a small group of six traders occupying one table to the side of the caverns. While they respond kindly when spoken to, they seem a little uncomfortable, as if expecting something and defer any talk of wares or trades to a later point in time. Outside the snows grow heavier, the skies releasing so unpleasant a winter storm that it is even driving these independant folks into the weyr proper. Still, the traders only trickle in by ones or twos, at least until Neyuni stomps into the caverns. Her hands clenched at her sides, and not seemingly from the cold. She’s follow closely by the trade group leaders, who speak soothingly “It’s quite a reasonable offer…”

Th’ero would have begun to relax once Kimmila finished prying about his reasons for keeping his hair the messy way it is, but her next question has him fidgeting a little. “Nothing did, aside from Velokraeth Searching the girl.” He murmurs between sips, obviously evading the bluerider. “Forget I said anything.” The Weyrleader says next, jaw set stubbornly as he leans back into his chair. Deitra’s comment though earns her his full attention and a surprisingly not… surprised look? “Did she now?” he muses, perhaps curious. He’s about to pester the poor candidate for more when he’s distracted by the arrivals at the cavern’s entrance. Brown gaze glances upwards, a slight smile on his features at the sight of Neyuni though the traders with her earn a longer look, though Th’ero’s expression is oddly reserved and neutral. “We’ve visitors.” The Weyrleader murmurs into his mug.

Kimmila rolls her eyes a little bit at the reminder of the purring. “Yeah, she was pretty strange,” she remarks, sipping her klah. Her eyes stare at Th’ero for a long moment and then look away. Not admitting defeat, not by any means. Just deferring the conversation until later. “I haven’t kept anything, no,” she answers Deitra. “He destroys everything he makes. Except the mosaics. Those he leaves, probably because I helped with them.” She shrugs, glancing towards the exit with a faint wince. “Looks like I’m staying here tonight,” she murmurs. Keen green eyes narrow in on the Weyrwoman and her company, the bluerider unconsciously sitting up straighter, gaze darting from Weyrwoman to the traders in the corner, and back. Alert and watchful, she rests her hands loosely around her klah mug.

Deitra’s attention instantly turns towards the entrance as Neyuni makes her way in, brows lifting at the woman’s demeanor and the traders following behind her. Nothing is said, grey eyes considering before attention flickers back towards the Weyrleader, nodding once to his question and offering nothing more than that. Especially as his expression changes to something more reserved. Curious, grey eyes turn back towards Weyrwoman and traders, watching intently as she idly listens to Kimmila’s response to her qestion. “Ah. Would like ta see somethin’ if I ever get a chance…”

The head trader follows the Weyrwoman into the cavern, shrugging out of his jacket as they get farther in and the relative warmth overtakes the outdoor chill. “Dear Neyuni…” he begins though a sharp look and he smoothly continues “… Weyrwoman. Our camp was clearly to chill a place for such talk, let us warm and drink and discuss this again. It’s certainly a unique offer to Fort though we could have brought it anywhere, your Weyrs ancient traditions and history make it the opportune location and we’re offering our best in exchange. Surely you can see it is only to your Weyr’s benefit to consider…” he drones on in such silky langauge, teasing around the edges of the particulars given the quite public nature of the room. Though in between lunch and dinner it isn’t quite as crowded, the discussion is clearly of interest, if not to the drudge refreshing klah, surely to the trio of aunties knitting with sudden quiet intensity in the corner.

Th’ero doesn’t remark any further on the previous conversations concerning the candidate, instead only wincing a little at Kimmila’s remark. “Weather is a bit tempermental.” The Weyrleader states with a slight smirk, gaze turning to settle on the bluerider. “Hope you’re not needed back in Western though?” And his tone, while serious does contain a slight hint of a teasing amusement to it. Then his gaze flickers back to Deitra and he offers the candidate a reassuring smile before looking away again. As Neyuni and the head Trader begin to wander inside, Th’ero’s once neutral expression regains a curious look and then without warning, the Weyrleader is pushing back his chair and clearing his throat. “Weyrwoman Neyuni,” he calls out, voice smooth and even and the smile he sends there way ever so warm. It’s a mask and a clear one to those who know him. “If you and your guests would prefer, there are ample seats here and quite comfortable. Not too close to the hearths, but just enough to keep warm.” Th’ero offers, gesturing to the tables not far from where his current group sits. The Weyrleader stays standing while he waits for the response, though there’s a quick side-glance to both Kimmila and Deitra – a silent gesture asking them to stay, if they wish.

Kimmila chuckles quietly at Th’ero, meeting his gaze and returning his look with a faintly amused smile. “Oh, I’m not. I’ll just spend the night at my mom’s…” Because that’s not lame or anything. At Th’ero’s call, Kimmila smiles and returns his glance with an approving nod. Nicely played. She even pushes back her chair and rises, motioning with a sudden and rare gracious gesture for them to come join the table. “I’ll fetch some klah for you and your guest, as well,” she offers, her voice sweet and smile warm and inviting. “Please,” she says, directing that remark to the trader, and inclining the upper half of her body in a slight but respectful bow as she steps away from the table.

Grey eyes continue to follow the movement of the Weyrwoman and the visiting traders, curiouser and curiouser but saying not a single word as they continue to speak and hold her attention. Her head turns, making her eavesdropping less obvious so that she may sip at her klah. “Nn.” Comes Deitra’s grunt of response about the weather, “goin’ ta love walkin’ back ta the barracks in that.” A pair of gloves are fished from her vest pocket settled down before her so she doesn’t have to fish for them later. The reassuring smile from Th’ero has her brows lifting just so, but she says nothing about to turn attention back to Weyrwoman and guests but halted by the fact that Th’ero stands. Grey eyes remain on the Weyrleader as her mug is again lifted to her lips, curious about the nature of his actions and scrutinizing them carefully. The glance is met with a smirk of a smile, before she takes a longer drink and settles the mug on the table. Kimmila’s also earning a look for the invitations and her offering of fetching klah. The candidate does no such thing, simply sitting there and looking dumb as she has nothing to offer.

Neyuni’s expression brightens a bit as she hears and recognizes Th’ero. “Ah, Weyrleader!” the trader, perhaps not so much. Though the relaxed facade remains it’s clear he’s eyeing the younger rider over, but he can play the game well, better than most even so be on ones toes. “So kind and generous an offer, we’d be delighted Fort is such a kind host to us.” Neyuni looks a little annoyed to be interrupted but makes her way over directly, looking grateful for the offer of klah and company, and possibly somethign more as she gives a certain look to Th’ero. “Klah would be perfect, I’m not quite sure I can feel my fingertips yet.” The group settles to the table as the traders continues on, reaching out first to shake Th’ero’s hands “Why congratulations dear Weyrleader! We’d heard that the leadership had changed, well several times since we’ve last visited I’m afraid it’s been a number of turns. Such a fine looking clutch as a result, you must be so proud.”

There’s nothing wrong with staying with one’s kin! Though there may have been a brief glance shot Kimmila’s when she mentioned it. But then Th’ero is simply standing, hands clasped behind his back as he waits, trying not to look too surprised when Kimmila rises as well and offers her…services? That does catch the Weyrleader off guard, but he manages a slight crooked smile before his expression falls to polite neutrality. Until, that is, when he bends down a little to say in a low tone towards Deitra. “Why don’t you help Kimmila?” he asks, though his tone lacks any hint of a command. So it’s up to the candidate to accept or not, though given their ranks – it may not matter at this point. Maybe he’s only trying to help? Neyuni is addressing him then and Th’ero straightens himself, offering her a warm smile that is actually genuine. The Head Trader though, earns the same glance over and a nod, though his smile seems a touched forced. “I’m glad to hear this.” He says politely in return, a single brow quirking up at the look Neyuni gives him, the Weyrleader’s own glance a touch questioning in return. Now comes the awkward game of handshakes and falsehoods! Th’ero seems to manage it well enough, though probably envies Kimmila and Deitra at the moment for their ability to escape, even if to just seek out refreshments. “Thank you for your…kind words and congratulations. I apologize if our Weyrwoman has already asked, but what brings you to Fort so late into winter? I would think most would be seeking warmer climates by now!”

Kimmila fetches the klah and returns shortly with a pitcher, several mugs, sweetner and cream, all on a tray which she places in the center of the table. She sends Deitra to fetch some sort of pastry from the kitchen to also bring along, so there’s at least the offering of food, even if no one takes them up on it. Crass and opinionated she may be, Kimmila is still Elara’s daughter, and as such protocol will be observed. With a polite nod, the bluerider resumes her seat across from Th’ero, lifting her mug to take another sip, eyes darting over to watch Deitra for a moment. For right now, the Western bluerider is silent, though her green eyes do shift to watch the traders in the corner, keeping an eye on them just incase this is just a diversion while something else happens.

Velokraeth senses that Varmiroth’s thoughts are a cool blue swirl of snowflakes against a black sky – a mental image of the storm that rages on outside. « Mine says this man is sleazy. Trouble. And to… » He vanishes for a moment, conferring with his rider, « tread carefully. »

Varmiroth senses that Velokraeth's thoughts slide in like a rich, flavorful wine of reds so deep to almost be mesmerizing. The tone to come with his words his honeyed, though end in a bit of spice. «Tread carefully?» He muses, considering as he rouses himself to a more alert state. «Indeed, my good friend. It would seem a game is afoot and one I will have to watch carefully.» A pause as well, as no doubt the warning is passed to his rider before his voice returns, as smooth and unruffled as before. «Many thanks to you and yours for the warning.»

When Neyuni is looking over towards the table now that Th’ero has her attention, Deitra gives a quick salute in her direction before giving Kimmila a clear look that says ‘don’t hiss at me!’. The trader is given a rather blank look, brows briefly drawing into a frown but saying not a word. “Yes, sir.” Formalities are tacked on again, grey eyes focusing on the Weyrleader for his suggestion. Pushing to her feet, she doesn’t hesitate to head into the kitchens when Kimm send her that way. It takes a bit of time for the pastries to be gathered as the kitchen staff fusses over the presentation. She comes back with a tray filled with various things, looking neat and decorated perfectly. The candidate places the tray down upon the table and grins to Neyuni and the traders before taking her previous seat.

Velokraeth senses that Varmiroth coasts along that smooth, rich mindvoice like an artist swept away by the sheer beauty of the moment. And it’s a few moments before he’s able to rouse himself (or be prodded to alertness by his rider) to respond. « Mine is ready to assist in any way. » There is another pause before his smooth, distracted tones return, and if mindvoices could eyeroll, he would be. « Even if it's kicking ass and hauling freeloading traders out of her weyr. She says. » There’s a mental snort, as if he detests using such language.

The Weyrwoman hides a smile behind her klah as Th’ero gives the trader the perfect opening to launch into his speech, story, or what have you. It’s clearly rather rehearsed. Once composed the mug falls as the focus shifts from Weyrwoman to Weyrleader, and Neyuni doesn’t seem to mind that at all for the moment. What does get her eye is Deitra’s lack of initial action. Hmmm… noted. The trader speaking “… but then no need to be so formal. I’m Lorec, and this is Tabish and his wife Reia.” the other two remaining quiet for the moment taking the offering of refreshments with curt polite nods and settling into the offered chairs. “So… that horrid snow but we surely couldn’t wait to share the fantastically amazing discovery with the oldest, wisest and most well know weyr of the world, if you don’t mind me sayin’” and since privacy didn’t seem to work he expands and surely the whole weyr will know now. “… our travels came across this clearly ancient artifact. Who knows what it could be, but something clearly back to ancient times and with your vast library and histories Fort would seem to be the place where such mystery could be solved!” neat, tidy, the bait for sure. “…and here we are. We don’t mean to impose, not at all but then to find such a lovely clutch upon the sands and two of our own are quite of age. it’s still such an honor to partner a dragon, at least in our trader family. Our own histories tell of several, one even a queenrider. It just seems so opportune that we might arrive now, with more than one treasure perhaps if you look at it in a way. Of course Ney… the Weyrwoman here kindly reminded me that it isn’t queens who search, perhaps your own dragon might see just how strong our young are?” While he doesn’t explicitly link the two, its clearly the sounding of a bargain trader-style. A hand flicks and from the earlier group two jump up and come over, bowing deeply. One male and one female who look to be mid to late teens in turns.

Somehow, Th’ero weather’s the first step of political formalities, trying to keep the relief he feels when all the greetings are given and returned and his seat can be reclaimed, though he doesn’t quite relax into it. Instead, his back is straight and his arms are draped over the armrests, his brow gaze darting from one trader to the next, though his smile remains fixed. When Kimmila returns, then Deitra, his features relax enough to offer them both a wider smile. “Thank you, both of you.” He says in a low tone for both bluerider and candidate, though the thanks probably goes much further and perhaps even apologetic? Next he glances to Neyuni again, ready to say something to the Weyrwoman but then Lorec begins his rehearsed “little” story and Th’ero has no choice but to politely focus his attention there. It takes all the Weyrleader has not to frown or look distracted at first, but soon the mention of an artifact has his attention. There’s a curious glance sent Neyuni’s way, but otherwise Th’ero is watching Lorec and the other two traders carefully. “Is that so?” he murmurs at one point, though it’s all he can edge in considering the item of interest. But when the two younger traders are mentioned and the obvious “bargain” implied, Th’ero tenses a little, looking uncertain and uncomfortable. “The Weyrwoman is correct on that queens do not Search. And while I’m very grateful that you would consider Fort first with your finding…” A pause, as the Weyrleader struggles for the right words, so carefully. “…the intricacies of why a dragon chooses to Search one over the other is unknown. Though I’m sure you’re kin are strong and I mean no offence. But…” Th’ero flounders now, glancing towards Neyuni for support.

Kimmila sits quietly for a moment, her keen green eyes watching the trader intently as he offers his bargain. Her expression is deadpan and carefully schooled, and as he finishes her gaze darts to Th’ero, and then to Neyuni. When Th’ero flounders, the bluerider clears her throat. “If I may?” she asks, but she continues before waiting for an answer, inclining her head to the traders. “I’m a bluerider,” and did we mention that she’s no longer wearing her Western knot, most days (including this one)? “And blues are notoriously sensitive for Search. They make very good Search dragons, while queens and bronzes, no offense, Weyrleaders,” she adds graciously, with a low dip of her head, “are often too busy with tending to the weyr’s needs to pick up the subtle nuances that is required for a proper Search. If you would wish it,” she continues, green eyes moving from the Weyrleaders to the trader, her smile growing and her expression eager with her idea (all utterly fake, but she plays it off /quite/ well), “I could take the children outside and see what Varmiroth thinks of them, while you show the Weyrleaders this fascinating artifact? I grew up in the records rooms and have an extensive knowledge of the lore this weyr holds, and I’d love to also take a peek at it, but I think seeing Varmiroth’s reactions to your young traders should be my first priority. If, of course, the Weyrleaders agree?” And now her attention turns to them, all warm smiles and helpful eagerness.

Velokraeth senses that Varmiroth reaches out once more, clearly confused. « We have no eggs on our sands… »

Varmiroth senses that Velokraeth reaches back, tone still so smooth and reassuring. «It's part of the game, dear friend. Seems your skills are needed, I'm afraid. Though do feel free to share? Inquiring minds are so very curious on these two that our new… /friends/ insist upon.» There's an obvious stress on that particular word.

Deitra is not aware that she’s drawn Neyuni’s attention, blissfully so. Her mug is considered again and lifted to her lips as she listens to the traders go on about their discovery, attention briefly drifting away as it completely loses her interest until the mention of a trade. Tensing, grey eyes flicker back towards the trader and stares blankly at him — that much she can’t resist, mouth is kept shut by her mug of klah carefully sipping away to keep herself occupied. Grey eyes shift over towards the two that hop up, the teens are given a rather bored look and the urge is resisted by reaching for a pastry and promptly shoving the whole thing into her mouth. There’s a soft grunt in welcome towards Th’ero for his thanks, grey eyes flickering towards Kimmila as she offers herself up to Search. Her nose wrinkles and again, opinion is kept to herself.

Neyuni leans back in her chair, having had a little longer to absorb what has been presented, and as much as is revealed, so much more is clearly left out. The prospects must be intriguing enough for Neyuni reply’s to Th’ero’s glance with a small nod. She’s clearly curious too. interested enough to listen, but to act… that is less clear. Her fingers begins to clench again, the edges of the mug giving a little squeak as a finger slips. Keia looks to her, clearly a little nervous now, taking one of the pastries to nibble at to not be so idle and looking across to Deitra and what knot she wears for her role in all of this. There’s a stronger nod from Yuni as Th’ero speaks, his words clearly resonating much with her own thoughts… and without a chance to pre-discuss it either! “Exactly” she picks up not unkindly as he starts to fumble. “It’s impossible to tell what makes one worthy and another objectionable.” an interesting choice of words as she looks thoughtful, Kimmila’s own suggestion another possible opportunity although she looks so very slightly hesitant, not being a fortian dragon “Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to have the two checked over since you are here and we seek the best choice for our dragons and conclude that matter, and we can get back to the first, for surely the two aren’t related just a mere matter of convinience?” silky words as she sips again her klah, Lorec’s smile becoming a bit more strained and much of the attention shifting back to Th’ero for the final decision, her opinion clearly enough stated, even if it seemed more of a question than a statement.

Velokraeth senses that Varmiroth’s voice perks up, those swirls of snow tightening and stinging with a refreshing and jolting prick. « Mine says I'm to just sniff at them, and pretend to be interested. I can do that, certainly. I can be quite the showman when I wish to be. But of course, I won't search them. My weyr has no eggs on our sands, to search for. It is a game, it seems. » And he is eager to begin.

Varmiroth senses that Velokraeth's mind ripples with laughter and disturbs the otherwise silky smoothness of the dark red wines that make it a whole. «Excellent! By all means then, proceed dear friend. Let's see if these two have any worth and let the show go on. At least it will do no harm if they are at the very least not objectionable, yes?» There's a pause and the bronze then adds in a more sly tone. «No eggs? Pity. And here I figured my dear clutchsister would have risen by now.» A wistful sigh. «Ah well, give her and the other lovely golden ladies time. Then you'll have all the eggs you dream of.»

Th’ero is distracted for a moment when Deitra is suddenly wolfing down an entire pastry to her self and the Weyrleader has to cover his mouth with his hand to hide the grin that suddenly arises. Oh, how he wishes he could shove a few pastries down a certain Trader’s throat. But alas, that would not be polite, or good for his or Fort’s reputation if he went about throttling guests, no matter how irritating and presumptuous they may be. His thoughts don’t linger there for long though, as the Weyrleader is suddenly upright again and fixating Kimmila with an incredulous look. But the frown that follows shows he’s considering it. Gaze flicks to Neyuni again and then Th’ero’s regained control of himself. Clearing his throat, he folds his hands together and rests them on the tabletop as he leans forwards, brown eyes now focusing on Lorec as he lets the Weyrwoman finish speaking. Another pause, as he turns his head to give a nod in agreement and then it’s back to facing the Trader. “It’s settled then.” The Weyrleader states slowly, “Kimmila, if you’d be so kind to escort the two out for Varmiroth?” he asks, glancing the blueriders way and giving the subtlest of nods. The smile he offers the Head Trader next doesn’t quite meet his eyes, though Th’ero still remains on his best behavior despite the obvious tension radiating from him. “It’ll only take a moment. While they’re away… is there any more information on this artifact of yours that you’d care to share?” Distraction? Oh yes it is.

Velokraeth senses that Varmiroth’s voice is whipped up by swirls of snow as he replies with distant laughter, « I promise not to eat them, even if they /are/ objectionable. » He has some trouble with that long word, but he manages it. « I do not wish for eggs, » he adds, contemplative. « My wishes do not lie in Western. »

Kimmila rises smoothly from her seat and smiles to the two teens, nodding towards the exit. “Let us go see my blue, then,” she says, sweeping them outside. And she /might/ be heard saying, “Don’t worry, he’s eaten recently.” Maybe. But probably just a trick of the wind. Or something. She is not gone long before she’s returning with the trader teens, their eyes wide and their posture a little stiff. No doubt they hasten to the other group of traders to whisper of what has happened in the bowl, as Kimmila strides without hesitation back to the table, bending down with a hand braced on the back of Th’ero’s chair to whisper softly to him.

Kimmila mutters to Th’ero, “Had… give… a… thorough looking over. Might’a… little… so… and… says… they’re… their families than… the… terms,… he’s looking for…. he… Plus, as… to… other…. lifemate…. only… to you, but if… out,… They’ve… should… good enough for…”

Kimmila whispers to Th'ero “Had Varmiroth give them a real thorough looking over. Might’a given them a little fright, him being so /close/ to them and all. He says they’re nice, good, strong kids, but they’re better left with their families than joining the ranks of our Candidates. In the best of terms, they’re not what he’s looking for. No spark, he says. Plus, as twins, they’re too closely linked to each other. No room for a lifemate. It’d only build resentment. So it’s up to you, but if you want an excuse to kick them out, there’s your excuse. They’ve been looked at, that should be good enough for them.” to Th’ero.

Velokraeth senses that Varmiroth looks over the young traders, and his reply is amused. « They smell of the cold, » he begins. « They are very closely linked. I have no eggs to Search for, so I felt nothing for Search, but they are nice children, I suppose. Mine is irritated. »

Deitra is just a privileged candidate, or an annoying one who doesn’t care that politics are going on and she should make herself unseen. Keia’s gaze upon her has grey eyes turning her direction and considering the woman, up and down doing a full search before the pastry is thoroughly chewed and then swallowed. So far, so good, as the huntress refrains from making any unwarranted comments and thus ruining everything between traders and Weyrleaders, along with ruining Fort’s reputation — always a good thing. So her mug is lifted to chase the pastry with some klah and to keep her mouth occupied before it can run off on its own. Th’ero’s reaction to the pastry stuffing isn’t missed as his hand is lifted to cover his mouth, brows lifting slightly with amusement showing in her features before lowering and again taking a more serious look. The agreement to have Kimmila’s lifemate look at the two has her considering them for a moment before attention flickers back towards the traders, curious to hear of this artifact. Kimmila departs, and then returns and the muttering to Th’ero is met with a look before she slightly tilts her head to consider the two again, attempting not to be so obvious about it.

Varmiroth senses that Velokraeth sighs wistfully again and his once sweet words turn a touch sarcastic, like a drink that starts smooth on the tongue but lingers with a sharp aftertaste. «Rightfully so.» he states with a mental snort. «Which is where I step in.» His presence disappears as he goes to study those poor children himself. When he returns, he seems oddly subdued. «A very close link, it muddles their minds and makes it hard… But they are good. Passable, though I've sensed much stronger and clearer.» A mental chuckle now that sends the deep reds of his mind rippling again. «Such a strange, strange game. These Traders, are they? Are a crafty lot. Sneaky. I'll need to watch them far more carefully.»

Tabish speaks up, his voice pleasant, it carries easily without being booming. “It was actualyl my youngest son that found it after he fell into one a cave in the foothills. The cave looked entirely natural, its entrance covered by the brush of ages but not enough to support a playful child.” before folks could ask he raises a hand “and no harm either. He’s as rough and tumble as they come but his head did bumps agianst something metallic and plastic too. It took a lot of effort to get both out intact.” he sighs rather fondly, eyes sparkling a moment with memory. The story fills the interval with which the two teens get inspected, reviewed? Clearly stretching to address the subject of the aratifact, while waiting to find out the result of what it seems the traders really may want. Neyuni listens, interrupting gently now and then for a clarification “Yes Weyrwoman, we did find it within Fort’s bounds so its a clear claim in that respect too. None should surely object.” silence falling as bits and pieces of what is reported back to the Weyrleder slip out and all three traders focus on Th’ero. Are they so eager to see the youths searched, or might there be even more going on?

Velokraeth senses that Varmiroth snorts, that sharpness picking up colder undertones. « Mine says to send them packing. It is not worth it. »

With Kimmila gone with the two youths for what is to be a “Search”, Th’ero is left to focus on Tabish as the Trader speaks up. Curiosity is apparent on the Weyrleader’s expression, seemingly a little more at ease with him then his father. There is even a slight smile to echo Tabish’s fond look at the memory, even as odd or unusual, as it may seem. “No, none should object.” Th’ero agrees with a glance given to Neyuni for her opinion before he carries on. “I’m sure many at Fort would be glad to reclaim some artifact that may be linked to the history here or all our shared heritage.” Cautious words, but the game is still in play and one wrong tread could mean trouble. As Kimmila returns, Th’ero immediately glances her way, though also gives a long look over the two youths. When the bluerider whispers to him, his lips press into a thin line and with a sigh, the Weyrleader leans back into his chair, suddenly looking tired. Were the children rejected? The pause seems to linger, until Th’ero finally speaks up, the tone in his voice almost strained though he tries to mask it with a smile. “It would seem that some congratulations are in order.” He says to Lovec, his gaze moving to the other traders as well in turn. He pointedly doesn’t look Kimmila’s way and Deitra is given a passing look that almost looks sad but… concerned? Whatever the reasons, Th’ero’s patience is gone and gesturing to the two youths, he gives the formal instructions of what they’re to do before he addresses the Traders as a whole. “I believe we’ve discussed all there is to discuss for one afternoon and I’d hate to take more of your time when you and your kin could celebrate.” The Weyrleader offers with another of his strained smiles. It’s a subtle dismissal and a hint as well.

Kimmila, straightening so she can stand behind Th’ero’s chair like some sort of bodyguard or personal assistant, has a tiny visible reaction to the Weyrleader’s decision. She glances at the back of his head, her eyes narrowing sharply for the barest of seconds before all emotions are smoothed from her face and a false, easy smile is affixed. Hands clasped behind her at an ‘at ease’ posture, she sets her gaze to scanning the cavern, idly checking out anything /but/ the situation at hand.

Neyuni listens to the result nad relaxes a bit when the two seem to be acceptable. “It is getting late and I’ve other duties to attend. If you’ll excuse me…” she stands nad exits, apparently the falling white is more inviting than the continued play of politics and trade.

The story on how the object was found is met with silence and disinterest, so much so that Deitra begins to play with her mug, twisting it between her hands and watching the klah that’s left inside give the slightest of movements. Grey eyes lift then, settling upon Th’ero to consider his words as he announces their Search. Both brows lift before slowly being drawn into a frown for the look that is passed her way, lips press into a thin line before the mug is finally emptied completely. “Excuse me. Got chores.” Not the politest of exits, but off she goes, muttering to herself the whole way.

And just like that, the tension (for the most part) breaks and the satisfied Traders do in fact disperse with a mixture of happiness, delight and… something else, though with so many moving about it’s hard to tell. The two youths disappear to the barracks while the Head Trader piles them all with a few more overly honeyed words before disappearing with his kin to Shenanigan’s. Th’ero waits until all traders are gone before sagging into his seat, giving Neyuni a pointed look, but a nod in farewell as the Weyrwoman excuses herself. The Weyrleader then sighs heavily and scrubs at his face with one hand while the other reaches for his long forgotten mug. He downs the remainder of his klah, grimacing, as it’s now cold. “Shards.” Th’ero mutters and while he doesn’t turn to look at her, he knows Kimmila is there and less then thrilled. It’s Deitra however, that earns his attention again and before the candidate can make her exit, he calls out to her. “I need to speak to you later, when you’re done your chores.” Something in the Weyrleader’s tone carries a warning as well and he’d fix her with a look too if she weren’t already fleeing. In the end, only he and Kimmila remain, though Th’ero has begun to rise again.

Kimmila takes a sloooow step back, her hands remaining firmly clasped (lest she plant them on her hips in an irritated manner). “Weyrleader,” she says, her voice soft but a little clipped, “a word? In private?”

Th’ero doesn’t flinch from Kimmila as he stands, pausing to straighten his clothes before he turns to face the bluerider. Now there’s a tension of a different kind and the Weyrleader gestures for her to lead the way, while his mouth draws down into a thin, grim line. “Of course.” Is said in a terse, clipped reply before he’s following her out, wherever she may lead.

'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.