There's a hint of warmth in the air but spring continues to be elusive under the crush of winter and the constant barrage of storms. Gossip comes trickling in that while a lot of the Holds are handling it, more of the smaller and less fortunate ones are struggling.

And in Fort Weyr itself, things are growing tense. Kouzevelth has begun to show the undeniable signs of glowing. Will this mean that she'll be the first to rise? What of the rumors that Jajen's "task" to the south in Drake Lake's territory is nothing more than a cover excuse for the Weyrleader's decision? Most weyrfolk remember what happened last time the troublesome goldrider felt she could gain a foothold and claim Weyrwoman for herself — and they do not fully blame Th'ero for precautions given Jajen's behavior of late.

While the Weyr remains in stasis, only time will tell how the end game plays out and the matter of who is Senior next is settled. As for the fate of those struggling Holds…

There are eyes and ears on that development… from all sides.