The last few months have been a welcomed quiet to the Fortian region as winter progresses with nothing unusual from the normal news trickling in. Mostly just reports on the weather, which passes are open or blocked, and relatively idle gossip. The Hatching has passed and the Weyrlings are well into their training. Trades seem to be stable and for once it seems as though the Weyr will enjoy an extended time of peace and normalcy. Of course, that is quite the optomistic outlook and there are some who think otherwise…

There are whispers among the darker and lesser used corridors and tunnels, gossip passing for those who seek the darker and seedier veins of news and rumors. What seems to be one the lips of a few in these later winter months is some rumor of Gold Hill being at odd with Fort Hold and the surrounding holds as well. Enough, that it's said even Fort Weyr stepped in briefly. Something about a bluerider's treatment (or was it the holders treatment from the bluerider?), talks gone bad and even more unsettling there are lower whispers about how Gold Hill remains unguarded. But that can't be true at all! Now can it?

Certainly, the added patrols are simply that: additional patrols. After all, it's no new news now that with the Weyrlings cleared for manned flight that they'd be joining a few short sweeps and patrols of their own, freeing up a few other riders to expand outwards. And if the Weyrleader was spotted flying straight for Fort Hold, that surely isn't unusual. Perhaps new trade agreements are being discussed? It's not like he's been alone either, either accompanied by the Weyrsecond or the Wingrider Kimmila — in fact, that might explain the straight flights! More than a few folk are gossiping now about the bluerider and weyrmate of Th'ero. Trips to the infirmary? Continued lack of Between? Folk seeking lighter gossip are whispering amongst themselves that it really could mean only one thing. But they know better than to actually broach the topic to either Weyrleader or bluerider.

But there are some who also notice that some of the riders out on patrol near to Gold Hill are returning with some rather interesting purchases: jewelry mostly, but a few other metal pieces as well. Bribes? That gossip earns the scoff and scorn of some. Fort Weyr's Leadership would not be privy to such low tactics as that! One thing is for certain though… there's more to it than a simple surge in a taste for jewelry. Could it just be some minor thing or is this a start to something larger?