Fort Weyr - Council Chambers
A large table, spacious enough to seat all of the Weyrleaders of Pern simultaneously, takes up the majority of the space in this room. Comfortable chairs are placed at regular intervals around the highly polished table, and writing materials have been laid out at each place in preparation for the next meeting. Along the walls are a series of sideboard tables, meant to hold food and drink for longer conference sessions.


Summer has finally come upon the Fort region, though on a day such as this one might truly wonder. The air is chill for this time of the season, unaided by the scattered clouds that block out the sun more often than not and any warmth it would bring. Not that that keeps the Weyr from teeming with activity and with the hour edging into early afternoon the bowls are filled with weyrfolk bustling to and fro on their duties or errands. What perfect timing for a visit, when there are /plenty/ of eyes to see and ears to hear and gossip likely to spread before the meeting is adjourned. The council chambers are empty, though clearly have been cleaned and prepared to host guests. There is no fire as despite the chill the room is comfortable. But there are plenty of refreshments, from an assortment of fresh foods to drinks — the usual staples of klah, tea, water and, of course, wine and other stiffer alcohols.

The Weyrleader seems to be the only occupant of the council chambers for now, though he lingers closer to the annex leading to the offices. Could be he's waiting on another? Or he's simply none too keen in taking a seat quite yet. Th'ero has dressed in his more semi-formal attire, which is nothing more than a rich burgandy dyed, long sleeved and buttoned tunic and his usual black pants. He's attempted to tame the mess that is his hair, though it's already rebelling against his efforts. At least he's well groomed in other aspects and despite the slightly tired look to his otherwise neutral and reserved expression, he is unchanged.

Kimmila slips into the chambers from the offices, holding a clipboard under one arm. The bluerider looks worn and tired, the early and rather traumatic birth of their son having drained a good deal of health from her. Sunken cheeked but still plump, she moves slowly and carefully towards one of the chairs. She's dressed in nice enough clothes, though they don't really fit her quite right, and she has her knot pinned to her shoulder - Wingsecond, with an extra tassel. "Are they here?" she asks Th'ero as she settles into a chair on one side of the table, sitting very carefully.

The Weyrwoman isn't one for being late, even if there's nagging Holders constantly in her ear, buzz buzzing away. At least she's managed to break away and enters the council chambers dressed, still, in her more formal riding leathers that are meant more for show than anything else. Grey eyes fall upon the Weyrleader and in turn, Kimmila, there's a polite nod for both though the woman says not a peep as she makes her way to her usual seat and settles down. And when she does finally speak, it is in a hushed tone to herself, likely a threat to said Holders from before.

The weather here is so similar to that of Xanadu's right now with winter just ending and a raw, rainy spring just beginning. At least the ice is melting and they aren't blasting into a furnace-like summer heat by coming here. The Xanadu Weyrwoman is dressed for the office, but warmly so in a sweeping, calf-length corduroy skirt of dark red, a matching jacket underneath her flight one. After dismounting from Seryth, sending her aloft to the heights while she waits for A'dmar, she walks beside him to the council chambers. Her boots are carefully wiped before they enter and the shrugs out of her leather jacket, throwing it over one arm as her fingers smooth the mist from her dark hair, patting absently at the coil at the nape of her neck to make sure her helmet didn't wreak havoc there. She has a leather folder in her hand - likely for note taking and probably a copy of any talking points A'dmar might make regarding joint sweeps with Fort in the on-going search for Laris. Spotting Dtirae first, then Th'ero and Kimmila, she nods gravely to them all, her mood a touch somber today. Nevertheless, her greeting to them all is one of genuine concern, "I hope you are well?" while her gaze lingers on Kimmila.

The exotic dark sienna skinned man striding alongside Thea after dismounting is Xanadu's new Weyrleader, striking in his bold attire, colors solid and constrasting. Unlike the traditionalists, the essence of his mindset is clear in the way he dresses. Styled formal pants bear a crease down the middle, neatly pressed and without a wrinkle, light charcoal in color. Meanwhile the jacket over his shoulders is an off-ivory, bearing a scarf of dark red to match his Weyrwoman. His undershirt bears some tinges of orange, though for now the jacket conceals the garmet, closed and secure from the flight. Most of his actual flight gear is left with Yarovith before he ventures on with Thea, hair combed and slicked back, shoes shined. Issuing Thea in with an arm sweep and one hand holding the door, the man is of a strict regime of etiquette. Once inside, his gaze is drawn upon the scene, from the wordless Weyrwoman to the Weyrleader of Fort and the bluerider who apparently is a surprise for the man, since his eyes flicker to Thea to see how she registers the additional welcoming party. For now, he greets the Fortian party with his firm silence and that studious expression and his calculating dark eyes.

Th'ero shifts to a more attentive stance when he hears someone approaching and though he's not entirely surprised it is Kimmila who joins him from the offices, he is in fact caught a bit off guard by her question. Had his thoughts been wandering? Very likely. The Weyrleader has been a bit off his game since the return trip from Fort Sea Hold, but only those who are close to him are liable to see much of a change. Everyone else is likely just to see a far more short-tempered, brooding Weyrleader. Which is fine by him. He doesn't rush to Kimmila's side, but there's no denying that he steps in close once she settles herself into a chair and that he leans down just enough to murmur, "Not yet," by her ear in reply. Something else is muttered in a quieter tone, but that requires no guessing as to the nature. Th'ero straightens though once he has his answer and just as Dtirae steps into the chambers. Dark eyes follow the silent Weyrwoman, though he returns her nod with one of his own and a softly spoken, "Dtirae. All is well?" Then their guests arrive and Th'ero shifts again, shoulders drawn up and his whole demeanor shifting to something between reserved and welcoming. He won't take a seat quite yet, though one hand does rest gently on Kimmila's shoulder. Thea's sombre mood is noted with a vague frown, though he returns her nod. The question it seems is left for others to answer, as Th'ero's attention noticeably drifts to A'dmar and lingers there, instantly studying the man and his rather bold and striking attire to his behaviour thus far. Silence meet silence?

Kimmila sets her clipboard onto the table and adjusts her posture, reaching over to steal the cushion from a chair that probably won't be used, to stick behind her lower back. She nods to Dtirae's arrival, brows furrowing slightly, but for once she has no questions. Sitting up a bit straighter, her response to Xanadu's arrival is a soft but welcoming smile, studying Thea for a moment before eyes flick to the new Weyrleader, and then back again. "As well as I can be," she says with a smile a bit more warm for the Weyrwoman. "Thank you. And you? The kids?" Green eyes flick back to A'dmar, a brow arching at his attire. "How do you get anything done without getting that jacket dirty?" is her question, a little amused. "I couldn't go ten steps without having /something/ on it." She lifts a hand to give Th'ero's a pat, and then lifts her stylus, poised over the clipboard and the blank pages, returning A'dmar's look steadily. Problem?

Dtirae's reply to Th'ero is a slight nod, "they haven't -" Silence comes next as their guests arrive and her grey eyes shift away from her Weyrleader and the bluerider to greet Thea with a welcoming smile. "Welcome, Thea. All is well in Fort, thank you for asking. And how does Xanadu fare?" Much different is the Weyrwoman, having now settled more comfortably into her position. Though, it is likely playing nice with the Holders on a constant basis that has shaped her even further. But then, her gaze shifts to the Weyrleader that accompanies the woman and her shift in posture is far from subtle. Calm and at ease is replaced with stiff and masked as the smile fades from friendly to something entirely neutral. At least there's Kimmila making the more informal comments. There is no look to the bluerider, nor does she comment but simply gesturing towards the open seats. "Please, sit. Could I interest you two in some drinks? We have some wonderful new wines that we are able to offer. Or, something else if you would prefer?"

Thea thanks A'dmar for his courtesy in an undertone accompanied by a cool smile and draws closer to the table, reaching for a chair automatically in preparation to seating herself. "May I introduce A'dmar, bronze Yarovith's rider and Xanadu's new Weyrleader, A'dmar, this is Weyrleader Th'ero, Bronze Velokraeth's rider, Weyrwoman Dteirae, Gold Zuvaleyuth's rider and-" a glance at her knot and then a faint smile of unspoken congratulations lights her eyes, "-Wingsecond Kimmila, rider of blue Varmiroth." She sits then, sinking gracefully into the chair, placing her folder on the table before her, having noted the odd tensions in the room but unable to sort through them right this moment. She takes a deep breath: this hurdle must be leapt. "I am-" How to say? "well enough and the children are settling in at Cold Stone Hold with their grandfather," she says without a trace of emotion to tone or voice. "Xanadu fares much better now that the ice has melted and the lines are being repaired," she goes on more warmly, working hard at smiling in response to Dteirae's offer. "Wine please."

There's no hint to A'dmar's expression, although it does appear judgemental to any of those who don't really know him, underneath those dark eyebrows and the cool mannerisms of his style as he doesn't appear as tense as everyone else. He's not terribly intimidating, at least as far as physical comparisons go, despite his most daring sense of fashion. Though there is certainly something subtle about him that speaks of his intellect, perhaps simply in the way his eyes shift and observe between the parties could give that away. The ice does break a little under Kimmila's amusement over his off-white blazer, crisp and devoid of stains, his reply quite simply, "Then it is wise you choose not to wear such attire," this first to Kimmila's remark about going ten steps, adding, "It's not a jacket to be worn during hard labor, no, and unless you've called us here for some back breaking work, I believe I'm safe." There's little cheer in his voice, instead a tight formality in a crisp tone with a hint of mirth, otherwise deadpan and precise. His gaze lingers a touch longer on Th'ero having once ran into the man even if little was done in the way of progress for his business back then. Attention reverts back to Thea as she goes about making the formal introductions, nodding in general to the names and the titles, saying little, perhaps only a, "Well met" to the lot. It is to Dtirae that his attention pans, inclining his head gratifully at the invitation and taking an offered seat simply, tone still level, "White wine, if you have it."

Th'ero will move away briefly before things are truly underway, but not far. The Weyrleader simply goes to the serving tables, while everyone is still coming in and promptly serves a mug of klah and a small plate of food. Etiquette would likely state the guests should have their share first or even he serve them or offer, but when he approaches with drink and food in hand, it's not for him but for Kimmila and both are quietly set down on the table within her reach. Exceptions can be made, right? Standing again by the bluerider's side, Th'ero shoots Dtirae a quick and darting look when the Weyrwoman's posture shifts and that has a ricochet effect on the Weyrleader, though his is far subtler. He does not have long to reflect or assume though, as Thea is soon opening the floor to polite greetings — which is exactly what Th'ero does, despite his continued reserved behavior. "Welcome to Fort," he will murmur once introduced, a slight dip of his head following his words though his eyes continue to linger in a studious manner on the more exotic dressed bronzerider. At the mention of Kimmila's rank however, the Fortian Weyrleader clears his throat slightly, "Ah, yes… that," he begins, only to hesitate awkwardly as he glances to the bluerider. How does one go about it? Seems it's her call. Thea's reply to Dtirae is noted only with a passing glance to the Xanadu Weyrwoman, another faint frown on his features, though interest clearly shows in his eyes as she mentions the state of the Weyr. "A rough winter then?" he asks, tone drawling slightly in an accent that is not at all Fortian as his gaze drifts from Thea to A'dmar again. Still he will not take a seat, but that is only because he has gone to now serve the wine, three glasses of it. Two for the Weyrwomen and one for the Xanadu Weyrleader. Only then will he finally turn to take his seat by Kimmila's side, between her and Dtirae.

Kimmila lifts a hand a bit at Thea's introduction, shaking her head. "Not really a Wingsecond," she says, with a small smile, almost speaking over the top of Th'ero's correction. "I'm…something else." What /does/ she do? "Th'ero's assistant, I guess. Weyrthird?" That has her grinning, amused at the thought. But her expression sobers and takes on a concerned edge at Thea's answer. "Why…?" she begins, of the children's move. But she stops herself there, not sure if that's a weyr matter or a personal one. "Forgive my lack of knowledge, but I have not been traveling. What has befallen Xanadu?" Green gaze flicks to A'dmar, smile becoming slightly more fixed. "I'm sure this meeting will be mellow enough to keep your clothes clean."

Dtirae nods once to Thea's introduction, "we've met."This comes as a soft comment before she offers, louder: "Well met." A brief look towards A'dmar, acknowledging his request with a nod before she's rising and moving to fill the glasses without much more being said for the moment. Once filled, she returns to the table and settles the glasses down, red for Thea and white for A'dmar. "What's happened with Xanadu? I can't say that I've been able to keep up with things as much as I would have liked. The Holders have been requesting extra attention lately." A frown settles onto her brows as she slowly returns to her seat.

Thea accepts the glass from with a grateful murmur of thanks, her usual easy manner absent but not from anything the Fortians have done or said; something is clearly distracting her but she pushes it down, takes a sip of her wine and compliments the chosen vintage with a nod of approval. She answers Th'ero's, Dtirae's and Kimmila's questions in one go, "The winter was not so rough as its departure. We had an ice storm that froze the falls at the hydroelectic plant and falling tree limbs took down some power lines. We're recovering, thanks." And she gives Kimmila's knot another, more quizzical look, able to grin at her explanation. "Weyrthird, eh? You'll have to let me know how that works out." Her gaze remains on Kimmila after that singular question and although she doesn't seem offended, her grin fades as she says starkly, "To be trained as heir to Cold Stone Hold since the only offspring the man has have relinquished their rights." Best put that way, yes! "I chose not to contest the conclave's decision." And there has been fallout from that, if her expression is anything to go by but she doesn't elaborate further. She levels a look at A'dmar for his response to Kimmila and clears her throat. A warning perhaps. "We've report on the sweeps for Laris," she says in a change of subject while opening her folder. The spots they've scoured are marked on the diagrams she passes over towards Th'ero. "We've spotted nothing but a few straggled camps that look all but deserted."

A'dmar gives away nothing, assuming the poker game face without any effort. It's hard to say what he's really like as right now he could be anyone, controlling how much he gives away by simple expressions alone, while body language doesn't suggest he is closing off, but rather a confusing posture that he's inclined to answer, arms loosely hanging with one draped over an arm chair, while back hints at only a slightly relaxed hunch up against the back of the chair. Kimmila's smile does earn a hint of one from A'dmar, "For that I'm a grateful guest." He does offer his muffled 'thank yous' for the wine when a glass is served to him, pinching the stem to lift it to his lips in a pace that suggests he'll politely sample the wine rather than rudly polishing it off or something akin to that. As for the questions of Xanadu, he let's the Weyrwoman speak first and if there is any reason for him to interject he will, but he's initially declining his opinions to the matter in his silence. A'dmar cants his head at Thea as she clears her throat, brow perking up in obvious question at first, while lips quirk in defiance, smothered by another sip of wine.

Technology talk? Th'ero manages to mask most of his ignorance behind a look of interest (which is genuine) and understanding (which is forced), but there is truth behind his concern at least and the subtle hint of relief to Xanadu's current state. "Good to hear that the Weyr recovers. There is truth that the oncoming of Spring can in fact be worse than Winter itself." he muses dryly. The Fortian Weyrleader leans back in his chair then, though he does not fully relax. He is a man who sits a bit too straight, too stiffly and tense. For what reason, well… that is hard to say or even see, but the cause could very well be the new bronzerider — one who is difficult to read. "She also assists with other duties, as needed, throughout the Wings. Also with the Weyrlings." Th'ero adds after Kimmila corrects Thea and that seems to open the way for the Weyrleader to try to explain. "There is no official title and… unassigned is not only incorrect but misleading." As for the Xanadu Weyrwoman's details on Kimmila's previous question, Th'ero's attention turns rapt for the response given, but he keeps any comment to himself. But is that a bit of concern or sympathy? Maybe. But it also seems just like another grimace. One that falls to be replaced by a grim and dark look as Thea takes charge. Inhaling slowly, his jaw firms and there's a notable and lingering look given to Dtirae, then to Kimmila and fleetingly to A'dmar. "But no fresh signs?" he says in a too calm and low tone.

Kimmila blinks slightly at Thea's words, and she opens her mouth to say - to ask - more, but closes it shortly after. Oh. Sympathy is in her eyes though. Perhaps some day they can sit down and talk. Eyes flick briefly to A'dmar, but then away just as fast, following the path of the diagrams passed to Th'ero. And, since she's right next to him, she leans over to try and look at those diagrams as well. Peer.

That's about the scope of Thea's technology expertise right there. And likely she's just echoing what the techcrafters reported to her. At A'dmar's smirk, she makes no reply but there is a subtle twinkle in her eyes; the man is incorrigible, engaging in verbal jousting at a diplomatic meeting! She simply shrugs and re-directs her attention to Th'ero, giving Kimmila a look of frank approval for her cross-wing duties. "That's very versatile. I like Weyrthird myelf; it has a nice ring to it." It's probably awkward considering her demeanor, but she's trying here! As for the report she's given, she shakes her head, knowing those reports perhaps more intimately than A'dmar since he's had to absorb the entire Weyrleader-y thing in one go. "We found one drifter foraging who says he happened upon one camp already deserted. The rest were long abandoned." That map has the coastline, Xanadu Weyr and the beholden holds marked. Everything is divided into grid squares marked over by large Xs. Thea's eyes sweep the faces seated 'round the table, a fleeting smile flickering in response to the sympathy in Kimmila's. "I thought by now we'd find something. He may have moved elsewhere beyond Xanadu's coverage area."

There's some satisfaction lingering in A'dmar's gaze for Thea's response to his verbal jousting as it was put, turning back to listen respectfully and with geninue interest - or so it would appear. His readability is still minimal and many Turns practiced, despite the fact that he was living at a Weyrhold prior. Needless to say he occupies himself with those intermittent sips of wine, offering no voice or any opinion at all on the subject matters until the last, until the conversation turns to Laris and the apparent camps of followers. It's likely he's shared his opinion briefly with Thea before this point, but he repeats it now, with a retrospective experience to speak of, "Obviously the man is of some intelligence as he keeps his people on the move. I would assume he has figured out a way to integrate a majority of the camp goers into Holds, Halls, and Weyrs by now, as it is incredibly risky moving such a large group, even if nomadic, around for long periods of time - eventually they're spotted." He seems rather casual about all this, tone controlled, precise as always, "Did your scouts report on any particular targets? Vulnerable to an influx of like minded individuals?"

Th'ero will catch a glimpse of Kimmila trying to peer at those diagrams and as he reaches out to pull them closer, he noticeably shifts them enough to the side to accommodate the bluerider. Clearly he does not seem against sharing those details with her and does so without explanation. Besides, she can catch details he is liable to miss though he studies them but not as long as he would like. The conversation soon has his attention again, namely to Thea's comments regarding Kimmila's rank. "Doesn't it? I always wondered why there was a Second, but no Third. Even the Guards have a three-tier rank." he says, close to being casual in his tone before that promptly sobers. "A drifter," Th'ero mulls on that tidbit from Thea, his frown deepening as he glances down to the all the grid squares on the map. "He was questioned then?" Obviously. But the Fortian Weyrleader asks it all the same. "Perhaps… though it is not a thought I like to consider. If he has moved locations… where could he have gone? Eastern? Unlikely he'd be able to move so many people by water without stirring some notice." Th'ero voices his thought just as A'dmar offers his own and for a moment the Fortian Weyrleader holds the new Xanadu Weyrleader under a lingering and neutral look that stretches on to an almost uncomfortable pause. It's broken when he nods, mouth quirking in the slightest of smirks. "I would not put that beyond Laris either, if he's figured out some system. He's proven to be crafty in blending in and so have his people" At the mention of the scouts, Th'ero frowns again, lapsing silent as he gathers his thoughts.

Kimmila smiles a little at Thea, nodding slightly. "Thanks." Leaning over the reports some more, her brows furrow as eyes dart from one X to another. "Possible," she muses with a frown and furrowed brows, exhaling softly. "Though we haven't had word from /anywhere/ about him…so he's hiding /somewhere/." So frustrating. Nodding again, she glances up at A'dmar. "Perhaps. Unless they have found ways of hiding…at least from aerial scouting."

Dtirae is, for the most part, silent except to make minor notes on the commentary from both parties. "It's entirely possible that Laris has gone into hiding himself and is sending others out to work in smaller cotholds and convert them, don't you think? Hiding out in the wilderness because I really doubt that he'd be able to wipe all traces of him if he were somewhere public." The Fortian Weyrwoman notes idly but silences once again as grey eyes lift to consider the others gathered. "Aerial scouting can only scout so much. Especially if hidden accurately. Blending into the landscape is simple if you use the materials around where you'd like to hide as a cover. It's like hunting." And then, downwards her eyes go once more to consider where she's taking notes. "What more can we do to find him?"

Thea nods thoughtful agreement to A'dmar's assertion that Laris is cunning; she won't debate that. As for infiltrating, she reminds them all, "He had badges from all over Pern. We found some of them in his mountain stronghold." It's long been worrying her nights when she ought to be sleeping. She leans to stretch an arm, her fingertip taps several marked dots on the precise map - Xe'ter's handiwork and likely triple-copied with a large one pinned to the council chambers wall back in Xanadu, the former Weyrleader never did things by halves. "We found abandoned camps here, here, here, here, here and here. Nowhere near any populated area." Indeed, all of them are remote, most in wild country down to the south near the rough country near the Southern Barrier Range or uninhabited coastal areas far from manned harbors. With a quick flick of humor, she smiles at Kimmila, then Th'ero, tucking away the thought of Weyrthird while she refocuses on the topic at hand. "He was. He is at Xanadu yet. And you are welcome to come question him yourself. We found him just prior to-" her cheeks flush, "-to Seryth's rising which delayed our report to you." Given that she was trying to hand a Weyrsecond's knot to an apprentice smithcrafer just prior it's no wonder! She considers Dtierae's words. "Maybe… nothing? I mean, he has to know we are looking. And we've been overworking the wings for an entire turn now. Maybe we should just… stop." And she waits to see their reaction to that idea. "Make him think we've given up. He might just do something overly bold."

A'dmar looks down into his wine for a time, the golden liquid swished from side to side as if in idle contemplation, only as he draws his dark eyes up, he meets Th'ero's gaze for a steady moment, giving a brief sweep of his gaze from Weyrleader to the blueriding third as it were, "It's what I would do, hide the followers in plain sight, allow them time to become a part of Hold, Hall, or Weyr. Make it so the common folk accept them, make it so the common people earn their trust and respect. Then, slowly, like poison moves through a body, get your message into the ears of those common folk who are now trusted friends. In time, minds will change. Opinions and beliefs can be swayed. In time, you'll have enough people who think alike and who can overturn the governance of Hold, Hall, or Weyr - the latter being the harder of the three." He languidly takes a sip of wine, brow lifting, "That is what Laris is attempting to do, is it not? An all out attack with a force of arms would be short lived and would alert every Hold, Hall, and Weyr across Pern." He lifts a finger as he stands, leaving his wine on the table, point raised, "Sway the mind of the majority, the mob if you will, and a person will be granted a long standing power over the group." He steps over toward the food that has been laid out, speaking once over his shoulder, "It's the basic concept of the title of Weyrlord in Ierne." He would know, his name was in the campaign race, scratched out recently of course, but he recites as if it were simple to understand, a man whose not been confined to Pernese traditions evidently, "Find out what the people want, promise them that. If it is not what you want, make them want what you want. In return, they'll grant you authority to rule." His secrets revealed! Moot now since he's been dragged into Weyr life. He picks a few bits and bites, popping a few chosen nuggets into his mouth as he pivots, returning back to the table, offering the selected plate full to Thea if she wants anything to nibble on as he retakes his seat. "Harder to remove that way too," an additional comment, speaking in a tone as if he were discussing redfruit and oranges, not some dangerous criminal on the loose. Of course their continued assessment of him hiding in the wilderness makes him turn quiet, contemplating, "Possible, but again, large enough group, as you say, there are signs. The flow of trade for one. That large of a group requires sufficient supply, which would cause obvious patterns if the group uses caravans or ships. I doubt he could keep that many people interested on scraps from hunting and gathering practices alone, especially for a Turn." Eyes flicker to the abandoned camps, as for Laris himself, he adds, "We have Weyrseconds and wingseconds, it is not to say he has the same."

Th'ero should be taking notes, but he is not. Neither is he taking any drink or food. He simply sits, still too straight and tense for a man at ease. He makes a low sound to the mention of aerial scouting, grimacing as both Kimmila and Dtirae sound off on their opinions on the matter. "They've proven to show enough skill to evade detection from the skies. Which is why I've approved of the guards and land patrols working in sync." Might as well cover all bases, right? Thea's reminder earns another grim look and the Fortian Weyrleader shows without speaking that he has not forgotten that detail. The tapped sections of the maps only seem to bring the Weyrleader's mood down further, his lips pressing into a thin line as he studies each point briefly. Clearing his throat slightly, Th'ero nods his head to Thea's offer. "We will consider it. But it could just be another dead end." He lapses silent then, not for lack of things to say, but more for what IS being said and this time by A'dmar. Th'ero's gaze fixates on the Xanadu Weyrleader, first under a heavy frown that slowly eases to something lighter and perhaps a grudging look of respect — or something close to it. But now he watches the other bronzerider warily, not from fear but more out of caution from his well spoken thoughts. There is a glimmer of something else there too. Suspicion perhaps? "It is. His goal does not seem to be like the last ursurper in Pern history — Fax, I believe. He is much more quiet about his motives. As you aptly put it, he poisons slowly and usually from the inside rather than out." Th'ero has little else to add, mulling over his thoughts as he lifts a hand to run it along the underside of his jaw. At the mention of Wingseconds, his features twist and he says in a low tone. "We have evidence that he does in fact have ranks, do we not? And the first time we found him… he clearly had a small band of men among the camp that answered to him."

Kimmila leans back in her chair, a hand resting on her stomach while the other brings the klah to her lips. Blessed, blessed klah. So good. Her eyes follow the speaker, each one in turn, and her head nods slightly. "Fact is we don't know a damn thing," she finally concludes with a frown. "And maybe easing up on the sweeps is a good suggestion. Faranth knows the wings could use it. It's a long time to be on high alert, and the strain is showing despite our best efforts to be fair about the rotations." Listing to A'dmar has her frowning. "Well yes, obviously, but that makes it even harder to find him when it's whispers and rumors. Rumors that we are not privy to. I'm certain he's not sitting on an island beach somewhere, sipping drinks and congratulating himself on a job well done. It's /not/ done. So how do we ferret him out?"

Thea listens to A'dmar with a growing wariness, which shows in her expressive face as she watches him move over to the food table. Shifting uneasily, she makes a visible effort to squelch her own misgivings about this sort of philosophy being a sentiment of the man now leading Xanadu Weyr. She murmurs, absently grateful, "Later maybe," to the offer of food. She's preoccupied with too many things to eat right now. She listens to Th'ero and Kimmila in turn, nodding agreement. "I think he's keeping his groups small and scattered. And it's possible he's where he can most easily be accessed without attracting attention." Now where would the most in and out traffic be centered upon? Her eyes drift back to A'dmar thoughtfully. "If I were him, I might use Ierne." Hmm. "If we could infiltrate his innermost circle, we'd have him. But it could take a… a nonrider. Have we asked for help from Harper Hall yet?"

A'dmar isn't aware of the rising suspicion aimed at him or if he is, he's not showing that he is aware of it - again a rather undistinguishable poker face presented to the rest of the council, in between bites of food with an appreciative look toward the morsels he consumes. He too doesn't seem to react much to the Weyrwoman refusing the offer to nibble, going right back to picking out the choice selections on the platter, starting with the best first. Yet the man senses the look from Thea at the last, flickering his eyes back to her, calculating for a time, before agreeing, "It's an easy target, especially since anyone whose lived in Ierne for a Turn can be voted in as Weyrlord." Logic. That's what he seems to be providing today, simple logical that is not blocked by tradional rationale, without a hint of concern or dismay showing on his face for the place he called home for the last ten turns or more. As for the question of the Harper Hall, his attention drifts back to Weyrleaders of Fort, since Thea was posing it to them, sipping wine and eating politely in between conversation - not crunching too loud to interrupt.

Belated, thy name is Th'ero. Thea's implications to simply stop catches him off guard, but Kimmila's agreement seems to take him entirely by surprise and his gaze turns to both. Clearly, the Weyrleader does not share the same opinions as his frown soon returns and he shakes his head, "I'm not sure if I like that idea," he begins to murmur, though abruptly drifts silent as he mulls over it further. Logic kicks in and the Fortian Weyrleader exhales heavily, his hand lifting then to pinch the bridge of his nose. Why can these matters never be easy? "I will discuss it with the Wingleader then. See what they think. Perhaps we can nix /some/ of the rotating patrols. Not all of them." Kimmila's remarks to A'dmar draw his attention then, though he has to hurriedly tilt his head away and mask the ghost of a smile. Cough. For any wariness or misgivings Thea has, it seems as though Th'ero has taken no immediate insult or misunderstanding for A'dmar's unique philoshopy. If anything, the younger Weyrleader is… intrigued. It's not often the man faces another who offers such a challenge. "What would be gained though by taking Ierne?" Th'ero asks then, gaze shifting from Thea to A'dmar and then sidelong to Kimmila. "I do not think him to be so bold. For now his agenda seems to be to infiltrate the Holds. A Weyrhold, would be too much of a risk. Unless I am misjudging him." Which he — and all of them — likely could be. But it could be he is ignorant enough on the way the system works, despite A'dmar having just explained it. "Harper Hall is aware of the situation," Of course they would be. "But we have not asked /specifically/ for help." Back to the mention of Ierne, Th'ero levels the Xanadu Weyrleader with another long look, thoughtful more than it is suspicious or judgmental. "So… you are implying that if he does get to Ierne or his followers, they can sway the vote to their favor to have one of /theirs/ voted to power?" Did he get that right? The concept seems so foreign to him, earning a bit of a twisted smirk. He's trying, though, to grasp it and not seem too ignorant a fool in the process.

Kimmila nods in agreement with Thea. "Small and scattered, yes. Which makes sense, if you need to hide." She frowns then though, shaking her head slightly. But in the end, she just shrugs. "We can't say what he might or might not do. If there's a possibility he could be in Ierne, then we should send people to Ierne to see."

Thea stifles her unease enough to return A'dmar's look casually. He's making sense, but still… "Not taking Ierne. That's not what I meant. I just thought he could hide there - in plain sight while receiving his men reporting in from wherever he's scattered them." Still, she doesn't discount the possibility of what A'dmar has suggested, instead nodding while looking relieved that the Harper Hall knows. "I agree, we should leave no stone unturned," she says, then falls silent, thoughtful and there taking notes while the discussion goes on.

A'dmar levels an incredulous gaze at Th'ero, breaking his poker face to show his astonishment that the Fortian Weyrleader would not assume Ierne to be all that important as a Hold or what Laris would have to gain by taking it. "There is plenty to be gained," he sits back now, head on a swivel to regard all those present, "Ierne is a major economic center of trade, it also boasts an army of able bodied men and women willing to work for any scrap of success, not to mention the guard barracks with those loyal to the independence of the place…" he scrunches his brows down, a frown, a deeper contemplation, "Do I have to mention that the seat of Ierne also gets a voice at the Councils? Both part of the Holders Conclave and that of the Weyrs, as Ierne is unique in that it is neither Hold nor Weyr but is both…" There's a great deal to be concerned about and it seems to settle on the dark sienna skinned man, who goes to acknowledge Th'ero's understanding of the election process, "The public place ballots for those who are running for the title. The majority wins. The more followers he has, the more ballot boxes he can stuff."

Th'ero's eyes are ever moving, shifting between Kimmila, Thea and A'dmar in turn, Dtirae as well and perhaps a bit unsettled by the Weyrwoman's long silences and little input. "He could hide in Ierne. He could hide anywhere. For all we know, he's crept back here to the northern regions." he mutters, features just as grim as his tone as he lets some of his frustrations vent out. All these ifs or whats are putting the Weyrleader on edge, his desire for /solid/ fact showing quite clearly for that brief moment. "Right now, we just seem to be chasing our tails in endless circles. Which I am certain he's /planned/." What better way to buy some time but to send the Weyrs into stalemates? Th'ero is unfazed by A'dmar's incredulous look, though the Fortian Weyrleader does tense and bristle defensively. It may have been his own slip of ignorance that caused the Xanadu Weyrleader to react as he did first, but the man's pride will not allow him to openly admit it. The only hint is in his carefully spoken and almost recited response, "Forgive me if I've unwittingly caused insult," Th'ero murmurs, listening politely as he's "corrected". Something that irks the young bronzerider but he's careful to keep his features neutral and polite. "Do you think then that Laris or some of his men stand a chance in hiding in Ierne?" he will ask, trying to shift back to less volatile topics. Which is hard to do, given their purpose for this meeting. One that is liable to drag on and on for some time more. It's hard to say if they will agree on anything or if any new shred of information will be brought forwards or discovered by chance. Eventually, as the hours drag on, Th'ero will likely call for an end. By then his head is liable to be aching, from a combination of too much information to focus on and all the control needed in order to remain civil and not make too many political blunders. Couple that with his lack of any food or drink and well… the Weyrleader has his limits. "I think we have discussed all we can discuss at this point. We will keep you notified on the changes with the sweeps and patrols. But if anything new transpires, we will certainly meet again. On Xanadu soil, perhaps?" Seems only fair? Th'ero has slowly risen from his seat by then, as is only polite in the first steps to a formal farewell to guests.

Kimmila lifts a hand and shakes her head. "Do you really think Laris would show his face at a Conclave? Or that he would allow someone /else/ to hold the position and take his…I hate to say glory, but…attention, perhaps? He might be using Ierne, but I do not really see him trying to run it…." And she'll also slip into the discussion here and there, but for the rest of the time she's mostly quiet, sipping her klah and taking notes.

A'dmar relaspes into a picture of calm and ease, a coolness about his eyes that tightens to near iciness depending on the subject matter, never more than that, never showing more than he must, too emotionless during the entire experience that at times he seems inhuman or a lack wit - even though he clearly is not. The speculation is easy enough for him to talk toward, offering other what ifs and where hows, never a solution, seemingly dancing around solid 'fixes' now and again. For Th'ero's apology, it is dismissed easily with a gesture, as if it had not been difficult for Th'ero to say such a thing, so casually forgotten by the Xanadu Weyrleader. His answer for Laris hiding in Ierne is give a solid nod and an assurance, "He could easily hide in Ierne, as people tend to mind their own business and look the other way." He fails to include that marks cause people to look the other way too but anyone whose smart enough to piece it together would eventually realize it. Corruption can bred in Ierne easier than in Weyrs, easier than Holds since at least Holders are protected by their bloodlines and only feud amongst themselves. Of course as the hours drag on and the topics shift, A'dmar would have less to say and more to listen to, considering he is relatively new to the game, mindful of the tones and the body languages of those in the room. At the end, he'll have gone through a couple glasses of wine and a fair portion of food, standing with Thea as the meeting is adjourned. "We would be happy to return the favor but let it not wait until trouble arises before we can host our Fortian friends," laying it on thick to clear the air of any misunderstandings. At such point he would wait for Thea, leaving once her farewells were broached, moving to be at her back, a step behind.


'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.