Emergency Meeting with Fort's Weyrleaders

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrleaders' Office

Office and retreat, this is the domain of Xanadu's Weyrleaders. The door is in the eastern wall, quite close to the southern end while the northern wall is dominated by big, expansive windows, framed by sumptuous deep blue drapes edged with a brilliant gold braid and tied back with a thick rope of braided gold and blue cord. In between, the eastern wall is covered floor to ceiling with shelves that house all sorts of records, manuals and supplies that are used on a day-to-day basis. The southern wall has the Weyrleader's desk — plain fellis wood, well polished and masculine. From behind his desk, the Weyrleader can look straight through the windows and out onto the main airspace of Xanadu. The western wall is where the Weyrwoman's desk resides: a lovely piece of furniture made of warm cherry wood. From her seat, a glance sideways gives her an equally good prospect out the window. There are a few other seats, some comfortably arranged around a low round table for small, informal meetings while there also some that can be drawn up to one of the desks.
On the south side of the door, the space is occupied by a low oblong table where refreshments can be set without someone needing to intrude. There is also an 'incoming' tray where incoming correspondence or similar items can be left.

In the hour since Laurali's stunning revelation that she'd been kidnapped by a murderer who has been living in their midst, the Weyrwoman has been busy. Sending Shep with a note to the kitchen for three dinners to be sent up with hot drinks all around, then sending the brown 'lizard to the Headwoman for clean, dry clothing for a girl 'yay tall and build'. The office, though the door has been kept closed, has seen a brief flurry of activity until the tray of food arrived with generous portions for all. After nudging the pair to eat, Thea has taken the time to communicate via Seryth, sending wings aloft to sweep forest, coast and inland, set guards (the weyrlings mobilized to help with this), and communicate with Fort. "It'll be alright, Laurali, eat Sweethart, you must be starving," is basically all she's said in the interim besides a murmured, "Stay with her for awhile longer Soriana?" Since the girl has been clinging to her and seems at least comforted by the teen's presence.

Wow. That's still a large part of Soriana's reaction, as she sits beside the younger girl. Thea, for all she hasn't said much of anything, has clearly been busy - Sori knows the talking-to-dragon look. Things will happen, but for now, eating does seem like a good idea. You can build up quite an appetite, gallivanting along in the woods, never mind… well. She keeps one arm lightly around Laurali, eating one-handed and trying to engage the younger in a light conversation about the contents of their plates. Favorite foods are a good subject, right? With time to breathe, the worry about what Laurali revealed makes her sound a little uncertain, but she keeps trying to be brave and comforting and all that sort of thing.

Laurali is indeed quite hungry but the girl only seems to stare at the food and her hands remain firmly curled into fists in her lap. "I'm not hungry." She mumbles despite Thea's reassurances. At least she's not a babbling mess of hysterical tears anymore, but she holds her head low, messy hair still draped forwards. The fresh clothes are at least welcomed, though she's ceased plucking at them as if expecting at any moment they may very well vanish. She sits as close as she can to Soriana, wide eyes darting between her and the movements of the Weyrwoman. But as time wears on and with Soriana's light conversation lulling some of her anxiety, the girl's resolve crumbles and a small, hesitant bite of food is taken before her hands disappear again and Laurali resumes huddling as small as she can be on the couch.

In Fort, news travels fast and as soon as Seryth's message has passed, Velokraeth informs his rider and then Fort becomes it's own flurry of activity. Thankfully it's only the noon hour and once Th'ero has organized his staff and Wings, handing control over to his Weyrsecond, the Weyrleader only waits as long as it takes for Dtirae to meet with him. Then he's mounting up and Velokraeth leaps into the air, disappearing Between and likely cutting it short of safe. The pair doesn't dawdle with landing either, once they remerged from Between, waiting for Zuvaleyuth to rejoin them before angling down sharply. It takes only moments then for Th'ero to dismount and then stride briskly towards the offices. His face is a mask, set in a heavy frown and his lips drawn into a thin and tight line, making it hard to judge his exact mood aside from obvious upset and seriousness over the news.

With no clutch on the Sands any longer, it doesn't take Dtirae too long to meet with Th'ero and depart for Xanadu. Zuvaleyuth arrives from between not too long after Velokraeth, settling down as soon as the bronze has found a spot to settle. It only takes a single moment for the Weyrwoman to unbuckle herself from the straps and dismount before following after her Weyrleader. While the woman is normally an open book about her emotions, she's doing well to keep them to herself for the moment. Her expression is rather neutral as she follows Th'ero towards the office.

Force-feeding a child isn't her way and so other than concerned glances to the frightened Laurali now and then, the Weyrwoman allows her some space. She hasn't really got much concentration for her own meal and the taps keep coming on her door, which is opened a crack to murmur answers or make requests, send the person on their way. One of them being Ocelara, who is set to run interference at the door between the administration hallway and the caverns and get Marella and Muir settled with the nannies until she is free to retrieve them. There is relief when a glance towards Soriana and Laurali shows her that there's at least nibbling going on. As time passes, and the answer come passed thorugh Seryth that Fort is on the way, she rises and steps over to the couch, patpatting the stack of clothing. "Laurali, the Weyrleaders from Fort are coming. Would you like to change into these before they get here? You don't have to, but regardless, these are yours to keep." The garments are plain, but warm - leggings and a turtle-neck shirt, socks and boots. A down-filled jacket in pink tones, soft-woven scarf, hat and mittens to match it are in the pile as well. All are used, but clean and in good condition. She doesn't force the situation, but the look given to Soriana is a silent appeal for her to encourage the girl to consider it. And when the knock comes that heralds the arrival of Fort's Weyrleaders, she is at the door to greet them, her own face grave as she allows them entrance. "Welcome and Xanadu's duties, Xe'ter is with the wings, so it is just myself. We can sit over with the girls if you'd like." Her nod indicates the chairs that have been pulled over for more casual seating.

Zuvaleyuth and Velokraeth sense that Seryth is a gentle rain of both welcome and concern, « Mine says to tell you that the child is terrified of both the man and that the Weyrleaders will blame her. Mine asks that yours reassure the little one. »

Soriana smiles to Laurali when she actually takes a bite of food, and pets down along her arm. "…there you go," she says, then sighs as the brief foray at eating stops. Sori reaches up, and starts trying to comb back some of the worst of the tangled hair. The younger girl is looking rather a mess, isn't she? Poor kid. When Thea mentions the Fort Weyrleaders, Sori glances to the door with something like uncertainty. Thea's one thing, but what're they going to think? She glances back to poor little Laurali, and her face sets with determination. Doesn't matter what they think. She nods slightly, and shifts to a kneeling position on the couch facing Laurali. She picks up the turtleneck, and hmms as if she's considering it. "Well, they look like they're gonna fit, but… I dunno. You think we should try them out?" she asks the girl. If Laurali accepts, she'll help the younger get dressed. Maybe fresh clothes will help! It's not much, not compared to the depths of what's wrong, but… every little bit helps? She hopes? When those Weyrleaders actually arrive, she's likely still either helping the younger girl or at least talking with her, but she glances away to see them with an expression that's mostly curiosity with a splash of concern.

Laurali is indeed taking a few bites of food, but the majority of the plate goes untouched. She shies away a little from Soriana's touch, shooting the girl a bit of a distrustful look until she realizes the other was only trying to be comforting and helpful. Sheepishly, she tucks her hair behind her ears, which helps improve her looks somewhat. At least now she doesn't so miserable, but the small child is still quite worse for wear and mostly emotionally. When Thea mentions the Fortian Weyrleaders, Laurali visibly stiffens and a bit of that hysterical look returns to her wide eye stare. The fact that the new clothing is hers escapes her mind completely. The door is given a cursory glance and then her shoulders slump and she knows there's no way she could escape now. A meek nod is given and as Soriana offers her suggestion, the girl pushes up from the couch. "I guess so…" she murmurs and will quietly go about redressing in the fresh new clothes provided. Once done, she'll seem all the more awkward, hugging her arms about herself. "I dunno about this…" she whispers, a confession likely meant only for the younger girl to hear. "I'm scared." But it's too late now to run…

While they wait by the door, Th'ero turns to give Dtirae a long and considering look, frown still well set in place. Something must be passed between him and Veloraeth, as he's suddenly murmuring in a low tone to the Fort Weyrwoman, "Try to be gentle with the child." He tells her, when really the warning should fall to /him/. Then the door is opening and the Weyrleader straightens to his full height, shoulders tense and straight and his features just as grave. "Fort's duties to Xanadu. We came as soon as we could. Will Xe'ter be joining us later?" Th'ero says in turn, nodding his head briskly. At the offer, his eyes dart past Thea though he can see little of the interior of the office from the angle he's at, save for the chairs. Does he doubt the Xanadu Weyrwoman actually having the child? Gesturing for Dtirae to take the lead, he'll let her decide and step in first.

Zuvaleyuth and Seryth sense that Velokraeth's mind in contrast is like a rich and flavorful wine, warm and mellow, with just a hint of spice, comforting and reassuring in their combination and an unusual contrast to the honeyed tones of his voice. «Mine has been made aware of the little one's fear, though she should have none. There is no threat here. Be assured, the warning has been passed and shall be honored.»

Dtirae gives Th'ero an idle look for the warning, nose wrinkling. "Like I'm goin' ta throttle a child who had no control of her situation. It ain't /her/ fault." The woman insists softly, giving the Weyrleader a dry look after that before grey eyes roll upwards. She quickly composes herself as he opens the door. The woman lingers a step behind her Weyrleader as she smiles in greeting towards the Xanadian Weyrwoman. "Fort's duties to Xanadu." She echoes and then her gaze drifts past Thea before resettling on the other woman just as Th'ero gestures for her to take the lead. She inclines her head in a sort of thanks before making her way past the man. "I apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused you, Thea."

Thea's mind is a busy place obviously, with all that's going on out there in the Weyr in addition to what's happening in her office, thus her reply to the Fortian pair is delayed by a few seconds. While they have that little exchange, she swings the door wider, stepping back to allow them to pass through it. "Yes, Th'ero. And Xe'ter adds his thanks to mine for coming so quickly. He'll be here as soon as he finishes seeing that the guard is set and the foresters are out scouring the woods for Laris. He's sent the wings aloft and the Weyrsecond is coordinating those." Dtierae's acerbic reply to her own Weyrleader draws a hint of a smile, though she retains her proper expression, murmuring to them both, "That's what I told her - that Laris was bigger than she was and her hold training was to obey him, but she seems to think otherwise. Perhaps you can reassure her that he beguiled her to join him, for she says she went willingly." There is a mild distress lingering in her tone over her inability to soothe the child as she gestures for the pair to precede her to the chairs while she waits by the door, likely expecting something momentarily.

Soriana leans in a little, and in the moment while the Weyrleaders are still all greeting each other and distracted, she murmurs ever-so-quietly to Laurali, "It's okay to be scared." A pause, and even quieter, "I'm kinda scared too, but I'll stick with you, okay?" Then, without waiting for an answer, she's rising to her feet and turning to face the new arrivals. If only she could see better! But the doorway that blocks Th'ero's view does the same in the other direction, and so teenage curiosity must wait, just like the two girls. Sori's hand drifts over to rest against Laurali's back lightly as she watches to see Fort Weyr's leadership. She knows their names, of course - who doesn't? - but that's a very different thing than seeing them, live and in-person. An expedition with her friends to see the woods has become something much, much bigger… and if she is, in fact, somewhat frightened from all the news, she's also entirely intrigued, with a teenager's desire for adventure and curiosity.

"Okay." Laurali agrees softly and just as before, the small child sticks to Soriana's side like glue. She can't take reassurance from the adults, so why not turn to the teenager? As the greetings progress between the Weyrleadership, anxiety and apprehension gnaw away at the girl and she begins to fidget, shrinking a bit when familiar voices are overheard. She already has seen both Fortian Leaders, so there is no curiosity such as Soriana's and Laurali goes silent, eyes turned to stare at the floor as she chews at her lower lip.

Th'ero only gives Dtirae another lingering look and heavier frown for the Weyrwoman's acerbic response to his warning. He snorts softly, letting it pass as this is no time for him to rile either of their tempers over some remark. "Of course not." Will be his flat reply before he leaves it to rest. Brown eyes dart back to Thea then and there's an approving nod from the Fortian Weyrleader then. "As Dtirae says, we do apologize for the inconvenience and the alarm this has cause." In truth, Fort should have warned the other areas the moment Laris escaped so many months ago. Then, perhaps, this situation would have been avoided. As his counterpart moves past him, Th'ero steps into the office now too. He's rather imposing when he stands at his full height and dressed in full riding gear and his features, set as they are in a neutral frown, could be perceived as cold and unfriendly by some. "It doesn't surprise me that Laris was able to manipulate her. The man has skills in that and given… the girl's history it's no wonder she followed. No blame is on her shoulders." But he says this to Thea, not the girl in question. In fact, he seems to come to a stop by the Xanadu Weyrwoman, leaving it quite the awkward tableau as he all but thrusts Dtirae with the responsibility of approaching Laurali it seems, who is - by now - staring in open fear at both Fortian Weyrleaders as she steps back and ducks behind Soriana.

"Guess it is normal ta think it's yer fault when it is somethin' so big." Dtirae murmurs in response, though it is likely that it goes unheard as she makes her way towards the chairs gestured to by Thea. The woman's gaze briefly strays over towards Soriana and Laurali before she turns her attention to the chairs and takes her seat. Th'ero's look is ignored, even his response goes unnoticed. It isn't too long until her gaze is settling on Laurali again but the woman doesn't look even close to being angry, instead, somewhat content if one were to try and place her look. "Laurali. How are you?"

Thea's response to Th'ero is a smooth, "It's alright, Th'ero. Xanadu is not blaming you either." Whether a warning would have helped is probably debatable in her mind, but her way isn't to look to the past. She simply nods in agreement to both of them regarding the innocence of little Laurali - now if they can convince her of that! At Th'ero's frown, Thea's lips part and she draws a breath to say something else, but there's a knock on the door. A heavy tray passed in to her by the Headwoman, who is thanked then the door is nudged shut with a hip before the Weyrwoman moves past the Fortian Weyrleader with a quiet, "Join us?" The tray is set on the desktop nearest the couch and circle of chairs, her gaze flickering between the pair of newcomers as her hand gestures to the array of glasses, mugs, bottles and pitchers there - iced water, klah, tea, spirits and the like while asking, "Something to drink?" And while waiting for an answer to that she spares a reassuring smile to the two girls on the couch, remaining beside the tray until her guests are served.

So, these are the Weyrleaders! Soriana looks them over with unhidden curiosity, Th'ero and Dtirae both. As the Fortian Weyrwoman approaches, the teen gives a salute - y'don't go living in a weyr without picking at least a few things up, and now definitely seems like a time to be polite. Particularly since she seems to be the human barrier between the Weyrwoman and the target of her interest! Sori twists in place a little, trying to look back at Laurali and offer the younger girl an encouraging smile. See? Non-angry-being!

Laurali doesn't salute from where she's hiding behind the older teen, but she does peek out from around Soriana, watching intently and keenly. Every move either Weyrwomen make and the Weyrleader's, they're all observed equally as instincts inherited early on from a life such as hers kick in. Soriana seems at ease, but the young girl's fear is now replaced by suspicion and that much is shown in the long look she gives Dtirae. "I'm okay. I have new clothes and t-they fed me. They're nice folk. Good folk." Cause that's all that's important right? There's an awkward pause and then Laurali is lowering her head, guilt written plainly on her features. "I-I told 'em everything. 'm sorry. I had too." She murmurs, fidgeting again and shuffling closer to Soriana again for support. "You're going to send me to t-the islands to, aren't you?" Laurali asks bluntly, staring at Dtirae now from where she huddles by the teen's side. "Like you did Hatskel and t'others." And there they are, a child's fears and irrational thoughts.

"Regardless, I regret that we've now involved Xanadu in Fort's matters." Th'ero insists as his stubborn nature comes into play despite Thea's smooth and reassuring response. Whether or not the time is right for the Fortian Weyrleader to be hashing that out seems moot. His head tilts up just slightly as the Xanadu Weyrwoman draws a breath, bracing for whatever is to come and then sufficiently distracted as well at the knock. While she turns to address whoever it is, Th'ero takes the time to focus in both on Laurali and Soriana, though it's the teen this time that falls victim to his cool and impersonal, guarded look for her salute. He at least nods back, but his expression is unreadable and no words of greeting are spoken. At the quiet offer, the Weyrleader's attention is broken again and he turns to where Dtirae has taken a seat and Thea has moved to set down the tray. He sits next to the Fortian Weyrwoman, posture reading as tensed and on edge despite the calm discussion. "Wine, please." He asks a touch briskly.

Dtirae's gaze briefly turns to Thea at her question, a smile settles on her lips and she shakes her head. "No thank you. I'm fine without anything." And then, she's back to considering Laurali again then Soriana as the older teen salutes. "I don't think we've met, or been somewhat introduced. I'm Dtirae." At least she's entirely calm before turning her gaze back to Laurali. "Xanadu has a lot of great people. Weyrwoman Thea helped me when I needed some help." She points out without much fanfare behind it, nor does she even really consider Th'ero as he sits down as well. "Laurali. I don't think there's anything wrong with telling them what happened and, I don't see any reason to send /you/ to the islands. You're a child, first off, and second off: none of this is your fault. Third, I didn't really have anything to do with those decisions." A brief look is given to Th'ero before she's leaning in and in a hushed tone that's still loud enough for those near to hear. "And if Th'ero tries, I'll kick his butt."

Thea catches that salute of Soriana's out of the corner of her eye and the teen is given an approving look before she turns to the Fortians. For the most part easy but with an touch of chagrin she says on the heels of Dtirae's introdutcion, "Forgive me, I've been remiss. This is Sorrin's daughter, Soriana." They would, of course, know Sorrin as one of her Junior Weyrwomen so she doesn't elaborate other than to tell them, "She was the one who brought Laurali to my attention and she's done very well helping to calm her. Soriana, Weyrleader Th'ero and his Weyrwoman Dtirae." Yeah, she's still getting this Senior thing down. She pours Th'ero a glass of the wine, takes the two paces to hand it to the man, but retains it until she can catch his eye, her glass-green gaze holding his for that moment shines with something - a purpose perhaps - as she corrects him gently but firmly, "Pern's business Th'ero and Xanadu is pleased to assist Fort in keeping it safe." And then her fingers relinquish the glass, her smile warm and wide despite the serious situation, also includes Dtirae. She'll leave it to the Fort Weyrleaders to answer Laurali's question, for that is clearly their decision, but is totally unprepared for Fort's newest Weyrwoman's unorthodox response. Her mouth drops open and there's silence for just a beat, a hasty swallow instead of a laugh, a bright look sent towards Th'ero before she turns back to the girls and says mildly, "I think that means you can both sit down and tell them what you'd like most in the world, Laurali."

Soriana puts her arm around Laurali as the child clings to her, being what support she can for the girl. There's a frown at the girl's worry, because this island is clearly not a good place. Her eyes go from Dtirae, to Th'ero, to linger a moment on Thea (for surely her own Weyrwoman will see to it nothing too terrible happens, if it comes down to it!) before going back to Dtirae as she speaks. Sori starts to open her mouth to introduce herself, but then Thea does it for her. For which the teen is somewhat grateful, to judge from her expression as she nods. She'd probably have mixed something or other up if she tried to do it herself. Introductions handled, the rest of what Dtirae has to say makes the older teen relax somewhat. At the threat to kick weyrleader butt, Sori can't help herself - she laughs aloud before quickly choking it down. Politeness. Respectability. Or they'll kick her out despite Laurali's clinging, and then she won't get to hear any more of this story! Eager to re-prove her role here, she turns to Laurali. "C'mon…" she encourages, stepping back and toward the couch.

Well, introductions sure aren't that frightening, but Laurali still regards Dtirae with suspicion and apprehension, as if she's facing some dangerous wild animal rather than the Weyrwoman of Fort. "Did she?" And now the young child's eyes dart between both Weyrwomen, intrigued as she's briefly distracted from the situation. Disbelief edges in though and just like that she's back to peering at the goldrider, ducking her head down. "But I /lied/," she protests, a frown settling on her brow. "I helped play his game. Made other folks follow too…" She drifts off then, fidgeting with the hem of her new tunic and for the first time in a long while her gaze isn't focused on anyone. Until Dtirae plants that seed and Laurali is looking up to fix Th'ero with a heavy frown. "He promised 'da…" she murmurs and there's a slight hint of anger there. At Dtirae's threat, her expression falls to a blank one before a ghost of a smile appears. Thea's remark confuses her and Laurali turns her head to give the Weyrwoman a puzzled side-glance. "Does that mean I can go home?" she asks, seemingly to all though it's Soriana she looks up too as the teen leads her back to the couch after her little outburst of laughter.

Th'ero glances towards Soriana again, lingering as he gives the teen a long once over before his features relax a bit and now there is a hint of a smile there. The Weyrleader would be familiar to a degree at least with Sorrin's name and rank, so knowing that it's her daughter who stands there already has her in good footing. Thea's continued praise earns a nod and /finally/ a look of appreciation for the girl's involvement. "You have my thanks then, Soriana, for helping Laurali when she needed it the most." Because clearly, Fort dropped the ball on that and his tone implies it enough though perhaps too subtly for the youths. As Thea approaches with the glass of wine, he catches her eye and holds it, slightly puzzled. It eases back once he clues in and taking the glass firmly in hand, he lifts it slightly in a gesture of silent thanks. "Pern's business, my apologises. And Fort will welcome the help." To that point, he hadn't been keeping as closely focused on Dtirae's discussion with Laurali, but he pauses mid way to taking a sip of his wine when the Weyrwoman's words reach him and she may have well slapped him (again) for the look on his face. Quickly, it's buried under a heavy scowl but the damage is already done. "Those were decisions I did /not/ make lightly." The Weyrleader points out in a firm but drawling tone. "And in the end it wasn't entirely my choice." He murmurs, only to grimace a little at the look Laurali gives him then and then Soriana's laughter soon afterwards. Nothing more is said by him, his wine now generously sipped at though he does shoot a rather pointed and narrow look at Dtirae. He'll be talking to her about /that/ later.

It's clear that Dtirae isn't much paying attention to her Weyrleader or Xanadu's Weyrwoman in their discussion, most of her focus is on the youngest of the gathered. It's the laughter that the woman is looking for as she's quirking a grin towards Soriana as the laughter is released. Her main focus then settles on Soriana. "You know, it's okay to lie in a situation like that. Because, your life is very important." Children being the future and all that. "Laurali, we're not mad at you. But, I believe we're going to need you to come with us before we can take you back to the Hold. We want to make sure that you're /safe/ this time." A glance to Th'ero and the woman's look becomes briefly smug for the look that crosses his face but it sobers quickly. "I know." She adds in, "it's a very serious decision and more than one person was involved in it," her gaze turns to Laurali, "but, I promise that we will not send you there."

Overlooking Soriana's laughter, Thea nods approval for the teen's continued reassurance to the frightened girl. She also nods agreement with Ditrae to Laurali's question about helping the Fort Weyrwoman. She did indeed. "Sometimes people do things they shouldn't when they are scared or angry." And here her gaze drifts to first Dtirae, then Th'ero meaningfully. "I think we all do at one time or another - sometimes after we grow up, even. We all understand this does not mean that is who a person really is. You were scared and felt all alone, so you lied." Here she offers the pair of girls a warm smile. "Home, Laurali of course, if that's what you want. but I meant something else. Think carefully now. Do you want to be with your father? Or can she-" Here she looks questioningly to Th'ero - she has no idea what 'sent him away' meant, but can likely guess. "Be allowed to visit him?" Ah yes, she sees the looks going down between Dtirae and Th'ero but she retains a neutral expression and stance regarding that, though the Fort Weyrleader is given a slightly sympathetic look. "Xanadu will, I'm sure, need Fort's help one day," she says evenly to the thanks he gives. Then her main concern is voiced and she's turning to Laurali to ask, "We need to find Laris. Did he say anything at all about where he'd be likely to go in the Spring?"

At the thanks from Th'ero, Sori smiles and nods again - of course, then she has to go and mess it up by laughing at him. Well, at Dtirae, but it's clear enough that Th'ero took the comment personally. Clearly, she's going to have to work on her self-control. For now, she lowers her gaze, looking at Laurali instead of at any of the adults. If Soriana hadn't already forced herself to seriousness again, the younger girl's question would do the trick handily. Home? What does that even mean for Laurali? Her father is, by her own account and Fort's confirmation, gone to some sort of exile. What sort of home does that make? Sori sighs, an answer in itself, and adds to Thea's answer. "You can have a new home, too. Moving isn't so bad. I've done it." Under rather different circumstances, admittedly, but… The teen looks at Laurali for a long moment, watching her and half-listening to the other conversation, then gets a look of equal parts inspiration and determination. She looks up to Dtirae, and after taking a moment to try and be careful and polite with her words, says, "May I come with Laurali, Weyrwoman? Just for a little while, until she's settled." She did say she'd stick with the girl, after all!

"Back to Fort Weyr? Couldn't I stay here?" Laurali doesn't seem at all thrilled by that idea and levels Dtirae with an uncertain look, fearful again but for very reasons. "I don't /like/ it there though." She whispers in protest and then cringes slightly when she realizes she's saying right in front of the Leaders. Swallowing nervously, the girl gives the subtlest of nods as her only acceptance to returning, though her posture says otherwise. To Soriana, the young child focuses her attention raptly when the teen not only tries to reassure her on moving, but at the offer she puts forth to the Weyrwoman and all three Leaders. Her jaw hangs a little in awe, but there's conflict too even for a child so young. "Could she?" Laurali chimes in, suddenly eager over the prospect of a possible ally at her side. It's an entirely new concept for the girl, who's likely not have any real form of childhood friend or /any/ stable relationship for that matter, aside from her now exiled father. Speaking of which, Thea's question has the girl frowning heavily and then fixing Th'ero with such a hopeful look it's likely to make the man squirm on the inside though the Weyrleader hardly seems to budge an inch. "I?I can't be with him. He's gone to the bad islands." Laurali tries to explain, not quite understanding the full concept but knowing enough to know it's /bad/. "And I never had a home… not 'till I was going to that cothold…" And here the child grows sad and silent. Then everything went wrong. When asked about Laris, her eyes begin to tear up again. "I don't know. I don't! I'd tell you, I would but he never said much of where he was goin'." She says, frustration edging into her voice as exhaustion begins to set in.

Th'ero gives a slow nod of his head to Thea, noting the slight sympathetic look and his mouth quirks up into a faint smirk. He sips at his wine, silent while both Weyrwomen press the child for more, listening intently to each word said and given in turn. At the glances he receives, the Weyrleader's expression turns grave and he can only shake his head, hands lifting to spread in a helpless gesture. Then that awkward moment passes, where Laurali fixes him with a look of hope that he, of course, squashes. "She cannot go to where her father and the others were dropped." He explains, curt and blunt, but it's the truth. When Soriana speaks up with her offer, Th'ero looks surprised and it's obvious the Weyrleader is poised to protest it, though he holds his tongue and instead turns to regard each Weyrwoman with a questioning glance.

Dtirae silences at Thea's statement, and a bit of a blush creeps into the coloring of the woman's cheeks. Luckily, she plays it off as if it isn't happening at all. The questions directed towards Laurali have her turning her gaze in question to the girl, but, she's saying nothing at this point in time. Especially as Soriana questions about coming with Laurali. Lips press together in consideration, her head tilting just a bit before turning to consider Laurali herself and her protests. Brows furrow, not out of anger, but, concern before a questioning look is given to the Weyrleader. "I don't see why Laurali can't stay here. It's bound to be one of the safer places for her… And she'll have a friend." There's a pause as she looks to Laurali, "and, I'm sure she wouldn't run away. And if someone tried to take her again, she'd get help." Those are some rather unsubtle hints the woman is dropping now.

"Or," Thea starts with a quick glance of mingled admiration and a growing respect towards Soriana at the teen's offer to go to Fort with the little girl, then pauses to listen to Laurali speak. She nods the affirmative to all three - Soriana, Laurali and Dtirae and says kindly, "You are more than welcome to remain here, Laurali. And make Xanadu your home. If your Weyrleaders agree, that is." To Th'ero's blunt answer in the negative to the child being with her father, Thea's lashes drop and she sighs acquiescence. The Weyrcouncil's decisions are final, she knows this, and so she doesn't argue, yet… it's so hard on the young, innocent ones. The tenor of the Laurali's voice brings her out of her own musings, lashes lift to reveal a shimmer of tears in the seagreen eyes that meet the child's. "It's okay, Laurali, we believe you. We won't stop looking for him until we find him. I promise!" And there's iron in the words, her chin lifting. This time - THIS time she can make sure the effort does not falter as she feels it did with Xanadu’s past encounter with a notorious renegade. She shifts her attention to Soriana, "If she can stay with you and Sorrin tonight, I think that would be best. Until we find someone she's comfortable with to foster her."

Her piece is spoken, and Soriana is quiet - though her gaze is intent, flitting to Th'ero's skepticism, then back to Dtirae with a hopeful look. Or… Laurali staying here, that works too. She smiles. That's even better, so far as Soriana's concerned - the prospect of staying with her friends far outweighs the small interest of getting to see Fort. Of course, if Laurali's to stay, that's assuredly a matter for Xanadu's own weyrwoman, and the teen's gaze goes next to Thea. Who acquiesces, so Sori grins down at Laurali. "How's that sound?" she asks the girl, then nods to Thea's suggestion of the younger girl staying with her and her mother, looking up to the weyrwoman with a smile, then back at Laurali. "Y'can stay with me… oh, and y'can meet my tunnelcat." If the children of this weyr are any indication at all, kids love ferrets. "It'll be fun."

Laurali looks dumbfounded, glancing between the two Weyrwoman with wide eyes still threatening to spill over with tears. Sniffling, she wipes her sleeve across her face and there's relief on the child's part. "I want to stay," she says shakily, shifting closer again to Soriana's side just in /case/ it wasn't obvious enough to start. Peering up at the teen, all her worries seem to be set aside for now, exhaustion making it impossible for the girl to focus on much else except for the present. "Tunnelcat?" Laurali is intrigued and it's likely now that the meek and quiet girl will be easily lead away, either by Soriana or by either Weyrwoman. If she's frightened, she a least has an ally to turn to now, rather then wandering the Weyr alone and lost. And its highly unlikely Laris will come back, or so most assume.

Th'ero catches Dtirae's less then subtle hints easily enough, mouth drawing into a tense and thin line as he drains the last of his wine and sets the glass aside. Most of what the Fortian Weyrwoman has said is the truth. Plain and simple. Whatever protests he has, he's wisely biting them back as he finds himself not in favor. Neither is he about to dash Laurali's apparent happiness over the decision. "I agree," He tells Thea, eyes lingering on her to prove that he's serious on the matter and gives a slight nod to seal it. It's done. "It's settled then. She will stay under Xanadu's guard and care then until this issue with Laris is resolved." Slowly, the bronzerider rises to his feet and with one last lingering look to Laurali and Soriana, the Fortian Weyrleader glances back both to Thea and Dtirae. "We /will/ find him." He echoes after her and then adds, "We should return to Fort Weyr then. Now that we know she is safe and in good hands… I need to update our Guards and Wingleaders. We will keep you informed of any changes or clues." And from his tone, its likely Th'ero expects the same in kind from Xanadu. More formalities will be politely exchanged, along with farewells before the Weyrleader turns to stride from the office and back down to the clearing where Velokraeth awaits him. It's going to be one long, long day.

"And," the Weyrwoman tacks wyrly onto the end of Soriana's reassurance, "if I'm correct in reading my daughter, Marella's got something in mind regarding Soriana and those runners. You won't want to miss that." Is that dry humor? Oh you better believe it! But she's smiling, even if it's a touch grimly at the misadventures of her offspring. There isn't much else to do at this point but coordinate searching for Laris and walking the Fort Leaders to the clearing with a promise to keep in contact with them. Thea won't assume that Laris is well and gone for good. Ask her about Kefai sometime! Soriana may be left to usher Laurali to her home, but they'll have a Weyrling pair escort and a pair of trained guards on the doorstep, not to mention a gold dragon inside. Let's hope Laris is hunkering somewhere out there in the mud and ice, wet and freezing his butt off in the cold, gnawing on bark rather than dinner, cursing his luck as the dragons sweep overhead and wakes in the morning minus a few fingers and toes to frostbite!

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