Where Riders Fear to Tread

Xanadu Weyr Region – Foothills

The smooth ground of the plains gives way to the foothills of the Southern Barrier range, slowly working their way up into gentle hills, and then larger ones that break up the horizon. The grass of the plains gives way to low shrubbery, which in turn give way to a mixture of trees, and the an abundancy of evergreens.
Here and there the ground levels out, creating ideal camping spots along the slopes here and there. At one such camping spot, under the boughs of a large tree, a section of earth is freshly disturbed, patted back into place, while an oddly shaped rock sits against the tree trunk. Here and there, groups of bushes and low plants sprout up, though while most have small, waxy leaves, there's one that has palm sized, smooth leaves.

Those who were up at daybreak have had their breakfast and some were added to the small group of riders that checked out the large hot sands of the collapsed cavern. It's midmorning now though and at the campsite those who have done night watch left to sleep late if they so wanted. That is until dragon keening awoke them all, the lemant coming first from the green that carried people down into the cavern, then taken up by all the dragons present back at camp. The only thing they could share with their lifemates it that 'it is fitting for the little ones'. The group is just now returning as the place settles and the rider giving a brief report in the main area near the firepit: Though the place was found uninhabited, several things were found and collected. Things which are now brought to the main area to share with the leaders of this expedition. A small bundle including an old, tattered piece of brown cloth. It's almost unrecognizable save for a few buttons and a pocket, revealing it is a discarded shirt, some shell shards, colors faded but unmistakably dragon shell, a handful of gritty, black ash, bits of burned paper that still smell faintly of agenothree, and a half-eaten, fairly fresh-looking meatroll in a paper wrapper. The rider's voice cracks on the last bit, saying something else was found, but left back in the cave. His head turns towards Soriana to finish the thing he cannot say.

Of the people near the fire, Thea is probably the only one who does not look surprised by the account. She nods quietly but says nothing throughout. Having been up a few hours before dawn, he watch comprised of the early morning hours and thus she did not go exploring with the others. Seryth lounges out on a rocky prominence and seems serene enough, although she too, gave voice with the others awhile ago.

Kimmila had midnight watch, and so she has slept a bit into the morning. The keening awakens her however, stumbling out of the tent she shares with Th'ero, buckling on her dagger and her quiver, bow held in one hand and at the ready. Her tunic is askew, boot laces loose, all signs of sleeping in her clothes though a circular pin twinkles in the sunlight, fastened to her collar. Striding towards the fire pit, she tries to piece together what's been found, a deep frown on her features.

Soriana is more subdued now than when she first went down into the cave. A surprising turn for adventure, but perhaps not so much when that keening wail from the dragons is considered. She's still near the front of the returning group, and when the rider goes silent, she glances briefly to him before addressing those gathered here. "A dragon. Dead before hatching." The words are simple, blunt. She stands up straight as she says them. It's not uncaring, so much as it's just getting the words said. The message, conveyed. "The dragons gave tribute." Not that everyone here didn't hear that for themselves, but somehow it still seems the right - perhaps only - thing to say.

Th'ero had been in a light and restless sleep in the tent he shares with Kimmila, having not only the midnight watch but also other duties pulling him away since they all arrived at the camp. Needless to say, the Fortian Weyrleader looks exhausted, but he schools his expression to determined neutrality, despite the shock he received by the keening. Talk about a wake up call. Velokraeth remains on his 'ledge' of sorts, or a raised outcrop he's claimed as his own to observe all that goes on below. Pausing outside of the tent, Th'ero also buckles on his sword and dagger and then attempts (in vain) to smooth out some of the wrinkles and brush the dirt from his clothes. His hair, always in a disarray of curls, is left alone as he strides towards where others have already begun to gather. Along the way, he walks up beside Kimmila, fingers gently brushing against her arm to silently indicate for the bluerider to follow him as he steps continue slowly towards Thea. His frown is heavy, thoughtful perhaps but likely much more then that. Arriving just as Soriana details her report, simple and blunt, his dark eyes fix on her and his lips draw back into a thin, grim line. "Fitting tribute then," Th'ero murmurs lowly and then his gaze shifts to Thea and from the look he gives her, the questions he's liable to ask should be obvious enough.

Altrea is with the returnding exploratory party, looking farely pale. Seems to be going around. "It was a hatching grounds," she says on the tail of Soriana's words, because that wasn't clear enough or something.

Xanadu's Weyrwoman rises from the rock she'd been sitting on. "It's been fourteen-some turns since I've been down in that cavern," she says quietly in a lull in the conversations and questions. "That's where Luciath clutched and we found some remains. R'owan - he was Rogawani then, and a…a friend burned them and placed them in a small hollow, covered it with a large rock down there. We found blood-stained, tattered clothing. Looked like someone got mauled by something. Apparently renegades don't have much luck with hatchings." Dark humor, for her but laced with a malicious sort of satisfaction in this particular case. Her green gaze lifts to Th'ero, then Kimmila, from there to sweep the group gathered. "That meatroll, however." She points to it, "Concerns me. It isn't dried or mouldy. So someone's been here within a few hours of our arrival. Probably were watching out and saw us sweeping across the plains." Her eyes lift towards the mountains behind them - the lower, snow-free rocky-looking peaks. "There's an old place up there we should have a look at. Make sure it is still abandoned."

Kimmila glances over when Th'ero approaches, reaching out to rest fingertips against his arm briefly, before she matches her strides to his. Her shoulders sag a bit at the news. "And what does this have to do with Laris?" the out of place Western rider demands, green eyes searching the faces of those who explored the cave (and also kicking herself for needing such petty things as sleep and rest, keeping her from that expedition). Perhaps it's not her place to speak up, but she does anyway. "Is someone going to take it between?" This question more directed to Thea than anyone else. The bluerider's frown only deepens at the sight of the meatroll, and nearby, Varmiroth rouses himself and begins to stretch. "Let's go, then."

Soriana remains quiet through the first of the responses, though as Thea speaks, Sori looks to her, surprised. The weyrwoman has been down here before? And.. Luciath? Sori's mouth opens, about to speak, then closes again as Thea goes on. So that's what… the girl frowns as she keeps on listening. She steals a glance back to the cave, her thoughts going back to what she saw there. Finally they go back to Thea, and she nods at the talk of someone here recently. Guess Altrea was right… this time. Not that Altrea gets more than a glance, before Sori's attention is back to the riders and their plans. From the way she pulls herself up, plans she clearly intends to join. Keeping busy. She likes keeping busy.

"I'm not sure, Wingmate," Th'ero murmurs in a voice just loud enough to be heard by Kimmila as the pair walk on. "But we'll find out, soon enough I suspect." Catching that dark humor from Thea, laced as it is and then promptly echoed by the Fortian Weyrleader, who's frown only grows heavier and his gaze turns downwards as he gives a slight shake of his head. "Shame it had to be at such a terrible cost… but perhaps it was for the best in the end." He says in a quiet tone, falling silent once the Xanadu Weyrwoman points to the meatroll. Studying it for a moment with a narrowed look, he then exhales heavily. "And if it was from a scout or sentry, they've likely got hours on us and have already informed any camps." Th'ero mutters and then glances sidelong to Kimmila for her suggestion. He says nothing however, though he does give Thea a brief a curious glance for the Weyrwoman's reply. "I agree. Though…" And now his gaze turns to Soriana and Altrea and there's a strange quirk to the set of his mouth. Surely the Fortian Weyrleader isn't thinking on trying to rain on anyone's hopes of coming along, is he? "… It will be risky." Yes. Yes he is. "We should take a group of riders with defence and combat skills. Healer too, if need be. Our best trackers." Th'ero suggests openly, while Velokraeth rouses himself from his 'ledge', rumbling as he stretches.

Altrea doesn't much care for 'busy' or especially 'dirty' but there's dragons and there's adventure and perhaps a little mystery, which is all just dandy for her. "Who's Luciath?" she asks obliviously, not exactly up and up on the lineage of every gold dragon on Pern. Not the best dragon scholar, perhaps. Th'ero can't keep her out of this either! "You're not going to find a better tracker, if there's any caves involved. I've been playing in dark tunnels my whole life. And I found the meatroll. So you practically /have/ to take me." Or not. You know. Your call.

Thea tilts Kimmila a mild look. Her answer is a blunt, "Probably nothing. Unless he left that meatroll while checking that crater out. He lived in Xanadu for the winter, so he may have heard about this place." As for the desiccated half-burned body, she shakes her head, lips pressed together. "A dragon may lower a larger boulder to cover the niche and keep anyone from disturbing it again. Luciath," she says in an aside to Altrea, "was a dragon queen that impressed to someone we thought was loyal to Xanadu but took her and returned to her renegade father." If there's more to the story, she leaves it for another time. As for further investigation, her eyes lift towards the crags looming above the camp, return to see the look Th'ero is giving the teens. "I want the younger folk to remain here with the guards and the riders not coming - unless they can handle a weapon." Much more quietly she says to him, "Their perspective is important too. They may see things we miss. Kids have a knack for thinking outside the box." Then lifting her voice, "Get your water bottles, ropes, climbing gear. The trail is a rough one." So saying she heads for her tent, emerging with her crossbow to wait with the group gathering at the edge of camp.

Kimmila looks like she's about ready to jump in with her opinion about leaving the kids behind, when Thea does just that. Settling back onto her heels, the Western rider looks pleased with the decision - as pleased as she can look while thinking about Laris, that is - and nods. "Going to get supplies," she murmurs to Th'ero, before shouldering her bow and walking off to do just that.

Of course Th'ero is going to rain on hopes, dreams, and parades. That's his official job, isn't it? Soriana nods at the risk, not denying it, but hardly folding either. After Thea's statement, she speaks up. "I got defense training. After… things at Xanadu." See? Being within touching distance of a known murderer had an effect! So you should all be totally reassured. "I can keep out of the way." The mere fact she's talking about keeping out of the way - as opposed to how she can totally take a renegade - is probably at least as reassuring as those few months of defense training. If not more so! That said, it's still a very good thing for her chances that the only goldrider here is Thea, not Sori's mother.

Again, Th'ero reaches to lightly touch Kimmila's arm before the bluerider can escape to gather the supplies. Bending his head a bit, he murmurs what sounds like names to the Western rider. Probably those he has in mind to tag along as back up for their exploration group. While Velokraeth is probably informing them as of now, the Fortian Weyrleader figures it can't hurt to have her go in person too, if she's heading back to the main camp. If there is one thing that most folk learn fast about Th'ero is that he's strict and not very fun on top of his already aloof and withdrawn personality. He's also opinionated, stubborn and as such, a bit of a jerk (usually unintentionally). As Thea explains who Luciath was, there's a brief moment where Th'ero looks almost troubled but the bronzerider is quick to bury it. Instead, it's replaced with a disapproving frown, but as this is Xanadu territory, Th'ero defers to the Weyrwoman. Not without one last comment though and he speaks it quietly to in return. "Perhaps. But it's a risk all the same. If things go wrong… we'll be hard pressed to keep them safe." With his piece said, his attention drifts back again to the two teens, lingering both on Soriana and Altrea for considerable amounts of time as if considering… There's another sigh. "How much defense? With or without weapons?" he asks Soriana first, then to Altrea. "This is far different then just play," he intones gravely and then frowns. "And can you handle a weapon?" Does he /want/ to arm them? To judge from his tone, he doesn't but his logical mind is warning him to err on the side of caution all the same.

Altrea's jaw sort of drops just a bit. "Her dragon just agreed to that?" she frowns. "I have a lot to learn," she decides. She gives Th'ero a level look and says, "Do you think I'd carry a knife I didn't know how to use? I might as well just hand it over to the other guy otherwise. And my brother says I have the meanest right hook in the Hold." Rather than wait for the bronzerider to give his blessing, she simply goes to collect what she'll need. Fresh eyes, remember? "Besides, they're probably hours away by now," she mutters under her breath.

Did someone call for backup? A shadow of a brown lingers back near the other dragons, settled nearby but off away from the main group. Any Fortians would recognize the largish brown as none other than Maehwazeyeth dropping off his rider, clad in dark clothes suited for exploration, a short sword strapped at each hip. The rider known as Jaye had likely been called in, she's apparently armed to the teeth and carrying some ropes and other such climbing gear. Once the scarred brownrider reaches the group, she pauses, inclining her head to those gathered. "Maehwazeyeth an' Jaye reportin' fer duty, Sir." She speaks to Th'ero, snapping off a salute to him as well as Thea.

Thea gives Altrea a quelling look and a stern, "Altrea." That's all the reprimand she gives, but the meaning is clear: respect the Fort Weyrleader. And since she isn't one to dismiss the caution of others, especially not from people in ranking authority positions, Th'ero's words give her pause and she listens gravely. In that brief span of time, Jaye arrives and reports in, her salute returned absently as she considers his words. "I know," she says honestly and though concern for their safety is mingled with respect for his opinion, she remains firm on having them come. Still quietly, "Altrea has been an adult for 4 turns and Soriana in less than a turn. Life… is a risk." Or so she is always telling D'had, not that it works with him, either. "If I didn't think it was beneficial, I would leave them here. We'll keep them close." Both girls get a firm look. "Remain close. Neither of you are to go off on your own."

Kimmila pauses long enough to listen to Th'ero's request before she truly is gone to get supplies and talk to folks. And it's probably a good thing, too, since the bluerider would have been /very/ vocal about leaving the teens behind. Rudely so. With people spoken to and supplies gathered for both her and Th'ero, the bluerider waits beside Varmiroth for the word to move out.

Totally enough that you should trust her and let her come along, that's how much defense! Okay, for real, because while Altrea may be old enough she can ignore the authority figures if she wants, Soriana isn't. "Martial arts with the first year guard trainees," she answers Th'ero. Of the alternatives offered at the time, it was the one that fit neatly into mid-mornings, when most of her friends are busy with their apprenticeships. The fact it's probably also the most comprehensive and practical… was not really a factor, to be honest. Nevertheless! "Mostly weaponless," she admits. "Some staves. A little knife work." Just about enough to not cut themselves! Really, though, when weapons appear in that class, it's mostly from the perspective of 'how to deal with an armed opponent and not be killed'. Not being killed is a major feature of year one's training. The part about killing others doesn't really come in until year two or three. Soriana nods to Thea's admonition, but it's with a slight grin. Being told how to come along means she gets to come along!

Th'ero only snorts in response at first to Altrea, his mouth quirking up into a bit of a smirk. But as she's turning away, the Fortian Weyrleader he keeps his comments to himself since they're not bound to be very nice. Soriana is given a long look then as she pipes in with her skills, the only sign that the bronzerider is the slightest bit impressed (or surprised more like it) is a quirk of a brow. "It's a start, I suppose." He drawls to her, likely including Altrea in there as well. He turns to Thea, head canted a little to the side to catch her quiet words and pitching his voice equally as low. "It is, but this is not a risk they would usually face. But I'll trust your judgement. We'll keep them close then." Or as close as they can, which he implies in his tone but doesn't voice it out loud. His discussion with Thea is cut sort as he steps back a bit as another voice joins in and one he recognizes all to well. "Wingrider Jaye… It's good to see you. Wingleader Nishka mentioned nothing of you having the next shift." Or maybe she did and it slipped the Weyrleader's mind. It's highly likely, considering he's had so little time to rest or sleep. Either way, the brownrider is welcomed in a rather curt and aloof sort of way. "Just in time. We're organizing to go explore a possible area that may have been used as a camp. I trust you have supplies then?" Speaking of supplies, Th'ero still has to organize some for himself and so with a quick murmured dismissal the Weyrleader steps off and back to the tent he and Kimmila shared. There he'll gather what he needs, followed with a few more small knives that he tucks at his side or hidden away somewhere. Velokraeth stretches his wings and with a restless shift, folds them again, rumbling now in what almost sounds like impatience.

Altrea lifts her hands slightly in apology to Thea and draws a line across her lips. Zipped! She nods curtly to shows she understands the rules, picking up the climbing gear she hadn't even had time to stow yet and resettling it on her shoulder. Just a trip to refill her water bottle and she's standing ready to go.

Jaye quirks just the briefest grin for Th'ero. "I know, we usually work th'night shifts, but y'know us, we ain't th'pair t'miss out onna adventure. Aye, we did bring supplies an' our own specific type o'experience, figgered y'all could use a wee bit o'help." The scarred woman takes in the group of explorers of all shapes and sizes and chuckles. "Quite th'crew y'got 'ere, huh?" And, with that, she settles back, adjusting her climbing gear and awaiting further orders from the higher ranked folks.


Xanadu Weyr Region - Up the Mountain Side

As the hills turn into mountains, the slopes become rougher, the trees become sparser, and sheer rock faces become more prevelant. Each mountain seems to grow in height, towering over the next, as snow can be seen topping them in the distances, while to the west, it seems as if there may be a small pass through the mountains.
As a sheer rock face makes up a natural wall to the south, it seems that this area may have been used - or may still be used - for pasturing summer herds, as the portions of the slope that bear the signs of growing gasp have rough fences linked here and there, uneven posts stuck into the ground with some sort of wire spread between them. Further encouraging this idea is the presence of a rough mud hut near one portion of the fence, with a cairn settled in its shadow.

And so they assemble and begin the hike, Thea not exactly taking the lead since there are beefier and more battle-experienced riders along than she, but since she's been here before, she is up there with them. Her crossbow, pointed down because she's fitted a dart into it and released the safety, is at the ready and though giving intelligence as best she can remember it, keeps her attention up ahead of them, eyes moving constantly. "It's about a twenty to thirty minute walk," she's saying to the leaders. "It gets pretty steep near the top, a rocky climb before a narrow pass." Which would be a perfect place for an ambush. The flitting shadows overhead tell of the concern regarding that as a half-wing patrol flies above and ahead of them to act as spotters and scouts, likely a mixture of both Weyr's dragons in that.

Kimmila walks over to Th'ero and hands him the other supplies she's gathered - some rope, water, those sorts of things. Standing well within the Weyrleader's personal space, she says a few quiet things to him before they're setting off on the hike. Looking skyward, she closes her eyes a moment and then Varmiroth is soaring into the air - riderless - to join the scouting. Kimmila mutters to Th'ero, "… /not/… coming… going… get one… be on… head…. there? What… is an… Bad… in… don't… bit…. an eye out for /yourself/. Not…"

Soriana keeps that slight grin at Th'ero's assessment of her current skill level, and nods. As the sergeant in charge of that class likes to say - there's always more to learn and a tougher opponent. Only, he says it with rather more profanity. Usually directed at one of the others in the group, instead of the weyrwoman's daughter… but whatever degree he goes soft on her is probably counterbalanced by most of her practice partners outmassing her by a fair bit. Probably. Either way, she doesn't hear any more objections from Fort's Weyrleader, and so… Sori's in! She's even more or less ready, for much the same reasons as Altrea is. She sticks herself a bit behind Thea - it's totally a safe spot, or else what is a goldrider doing in it, huh? HUH? - and looks at the assembled group curiously, particularly the unfamiliar riders from Fort… like Jaye. As they start moving, the scenery takes more of her attention. Mountains! Neat.

As the group assembles to begin the hike, Th'ero turns again to Jaye. "We can use all the help we need," he tells the brownrider, though there's hardly a smile there, just a frown. Dark eyes note her preference for weaponry and then the Weyrleader adds, "Stick close and keep a sharp eye." His only commands and obvious ones at that, but the rest will lie with her training as a Thunderbird Wingrider. He trusts she'll know what to do if trouble arises. Kimmila's arrival and the supplies she brings are arranged and settled, with him carrying some of the rope over one shoulder. He doesn't even blink an eye when the Western bluerider gets in so close to his personal space. Whatever it is that she mutters to him has him tensing though and the words he says in reply are terse and curt, not in reprimand but likely shared concern. Then the group is moving and Th'ero is following, gesturing for Kimmila to follow. There are Fortian riders in the air above and a decent amount below, some at the head of the group and others lingering midway and behind. Th'ero has stationed himself not far from Thea as well and for obvious reasons but not based on preference. At least here he can feel he can observe things quietly, gaze alert and wary as his eyes move over the landscape, but also keep a careful eye on the others.

Despite all of her bravado, Altrea seems more than content to stay towards the rear of the party, keeping up with the sure legs of someone who does plenty of up and down. It will get harder when it gets steeper, but for now, she's holding her own. She looks around like someone on a pleasure jaunt than a serious expidition. It's not like she gets to hike through the mountains all the time. "The air is just so much different up here," she observes. "You can't really smell the sea even at all." The lack of conversation though, is not much fun. She scuttles up the line to be closer to the few people she knows and asks, "Not to be rude or anything, but did this guy do something to Fort too? It's a long way to come just to help."

Jaye settles herself towards the front somewhere nearby Th'ero and Kimmila, moving with the ease of someone who is used to travelling through such surroundings as her dark eyes scan ahead and to each side, ever alert. The scarred brownrider carries herself with squared shoulders, hands lingering not too far from her visible weapons whenever possible. The scenery is something that can be explored later, right now the woman is in business mode as long strides carry her in a steady path up the trail. If she notices any looks aimed toward her, she ignores them and makes no comment, there're more serious matters written in her features. Breaking briefly from formation, she moves off to examine some things, keen eyes picking up this and that, though none of it seems to surprise her until she arrives at a patch of the rock that turns into sheer cliff. She reaches out one hand to slide it along the rocky surface, furrowing her brow briefly and moving in for a closer look. "O'er here." She calls, waving someone, preferably one of the people in charge, over to where she still traces strange scratches upon the rock. "Dunna think these marks're nat'ral." She comments. And when the others arrive to take a look, she'll move her hand away so more pairs of eyes can check the marks out as well. Leave it to the ex-renegade to find a clue, right? Hopefully it won't add to any unsolicited murmurings of her recently discovered past.

What is a goldrider doing in it indeed. That's exactly what the Weyrsecond will be demanding to know when he wakes up from his fellis-induced stupor of a nap tomorrow. Shooting someone with a crossbow she can do. Hand to hand, not so much. Yay for beefy guards! As for Jaye's 'specific type of experience' Thea's been mulling that over. "Does that involve things that explode?" Asked with a wary sort of 'please say no' sort of way. Kimmila's muttering draws a glance but only that as she doesn't catch the gist of it and it isn't directed at her anyway. She fall silent then, watching the way ahead, scanning the ground for signs of recent passage, kicking a tuft of weeds here, toeing over some dead leaves there, flickering long looks into the understory of the trees on either side of the trail as they go. She'll leave it to Th'ero to answer what Laris did to Fort, though her attention will be on the answer for she only knows bare bones there. Jaye's call, when it comes, draws her gaze. "Those… were here when we found this place but I have no idea what they meant. We never found anyone who could read the code."

Kimmila walks with long strides, feet carefully placed on the rocky terrain. Her bow held in her left hand, she keeps her right free just incase she needs to grab for her dagger. Or something else. Sticking close to Th'ero's side, she walks on his left so she can reach out from time to time with her right hand to hold on to him when she stumbles. And she does stumble from time to time, but anyone close enough to see her eyes will know why, as they unfocus so she can see the world through her dragon's eyes. She frowns at Altrea's question, but since she's distracted with Varmiroth, she leaves it to Th'ero to answer. Besides. She's a /Western/ rider. Why is she even here? Maybe she's a spy. Maybe she's working for Laris! Gasp. The possibilities!

Soriana frowns a little at Altrea's question, but. "Yes." There's the short answer, though of course Altrea, being herself, will want more details. Well, not that Sori has all that many, but here goes. "He killed people in Fort's area. He just tried to hide in Xanadu." Or perhaps is still hiding in Xanadu, though not at the Weyr itself - but hold that though. What about those markings the the Fortian brownrider has found? Sori trots closer to take a look, tilting her head at Thea's explanation. An old-timey code? Neat!

Th'ero moves along the trail and with the group in a stride and manner that is almost at ease, despite the tenseness in his stride and the set of his shoulders. Once a guard, he's no stranger to patrols over difficult terrain and while this expedition carries a serious if not somber atmosphere (at least to him), he's determined to see it through. Altrea's words pull him from his observations though and he fixes the teen with a long look. It seems like there will be no answer from him and then just as the silence stretches on, the Fortian Weyrleader speaks up. "Yes," he begins, just as brisk as Soriana's reply to start but he elaborates a little on hers. "He's wanted for the murder of the families of Stonehaven cothold, among other crimes," Theft, kidnapping, the list is likely to go on and it's possible not all are known. "He's resisted capture before and managed to escape." Funny thing happens then, Th'ero's right hand clenches into a fist but only the right and it's so brief it could go unnoticed. Something left unsaid? Most likely. Distracted when Kimmila stumbles, he pauses only to be sure of her safety, but once he notices why he backs off a little. But his constant closeness to her seems not so much out of place. Most of the Fortian riders know of the connection between the two. But why he insists on having the lone Western rider with him… who knows. Just as his hand comes to check on his dagger, Jaye is calling everyone's attention and Th'ero is among those approaching those unfamiliar marks. He scowls the moment he sees them, overhearing Thea's comments just as his mind makes the connection. Renegades. Oh joy. "Has there been many groups in the past in these locations?" he asks the Weyrwoman, likely making a mental note to look that information up. Laris may be a renegade in and of himself, but now the Weyrleader is concerned. He wouldn't join or try to recruit would he?

Altrea highly doubts Kimmila is a spy, given how…vicious she seems about this whole hunt. She seems to accept Th'ero's brief explaination, suspecting she's lucky to have even gotten so much, and comments only, "Man, he really gets around." She moves with the crowd to see the symbols, tilting her head to make sense of them, if there's really any sense to be made.

Jaye's attention is fully on those marks now, her scarred hands travelling over them. As Th'ero and others also look over the marks she's reaching into one of her pouches, digging around for something or other. "Ren'gades are quite skilled at gettin' 'round, an' gettin' 'round und'tected iff'n they've 'nough practice." She comments to Altrea as she continues to dig about in her pouch. Finally she comes out with another smaller pouch of what looks like some sort of black dust, or maybe some sort of charcoal. She waits until all that require it recieve a look at the marks before she's rubbing the dust against the rock, the dust darkening the markings, perhaps so they may be identified better. Scarred brownrider frowns, then, concentrating on those marks, they're somehow familiar, and yet at the moment they seem to elude her. Perhaps she lets loose a few unladylike mutters, but then nothing about this woman says lady. Then the brownrider lets her eyes go distant, as so many riders tend to do when conversing with their lifemates. After a few moments of this unfocused silent conversation, Jaye comes back to the here and now. "They're f'miliar, but I canna place 'em straight 'way." She admits quietly as she settles in to examine them further. "I kin figger 'em out, jus' need some time." She comments to no one in particular. "How long they been 'ere fer, Miss Thea?" She requests, maybe knowing an age for the marks can help her place them.

From the little nuances Thea's caught between Fort's Weyrleader and the Western bluerider, she's pretty much figured that Kimmila is here for personal reasons, not that she seems to mind a Western rider here in the slightest. The connection has gone unremarked to though, just accepted as-is since the woman handles herself like a pro. She's got her own mental back and forth going on between Seryth to coordinate the sweep in the sky and check with the dragons back at camp, making sure all is well and everyone who came is still accounted for. Staring at those scratch marks Th'ero's question seems to pull her mind back from far away. "These… locations? This is the only one I know of." The thought that there could be more is troubling. "We found the place up the trail, though we never caught the group who used it. Kefai… had another place near Ressac Hold but other than that, we haven't had much trouble with Renegades in the Xanadu Area - at least in the fourteen turns I've been there." Jaye's work with the marks gains her whole attention, fascinated enough that the question draws a bit of a startled blink. "Shells if I know!" She says rather forcefully with a half-laugh of frustrated helplessness. "They could have been etched on that stone hundreds of turns before we found them. At least fourteen turns, anyway." Because, that's how long it's been since they were first here.

Kimmila snorts darkly. "Among other things…including the attempted murder of Fort's Weyrleader," she says, fixing Th'ero with a long stare. She shifts her shoulders and arches her back for a moment, looking skyward where Varmiroth still soars with the scouts. The talk about the marks has her going to look at them as well, getting in close and peering intently at them. Grabbing a small pad of paper from her pocket, she jots a few of the symbols down, no doubt to look them up later. Something that she's sure has already been done, but she's not the sort to trust in other folks' research. Then she's turning to Altrea with a frown. "I don't think you're taking this seriously at all. And you should be. Laris and his gang murdered everyone at Stonehaven Cothold except for one child who escaped. He piled their bodies in the courtyard and left them for the tunnelsnakes and wild canines to feed on. He's abducted children, resisted capture, and nearly killed both myself and Th'ero, and several other /trained/ guards." So who are you to be taking this as casually as a walk through the park? That is implied in Kimmila's tone, which has taken on a sharper edge to it. "That goes for everyone," she says, lifting her eyes to peer around at the group. "This is not an /adventure/. This isn't a fun little outing where we go explore and find some cool marks on a frickin' rock. We're trying to find a man who is highly armed, well trained, and /dangerous/." She's probably speaking out of turn, given her rank (or lack of it, being just a wingrider), but she doesn't seem to care if she's stepped on any toes.

See? Th'ero has all the details, and even shares some of them. Soriana listens just in case he shares anything new to her, but he pretty well sticks to the basics. Stonehaven, that's right. The subtler parts of the Weyrleader's response go over her head as she stares at the symbols. That one looks like a rough triangle… oh! And that one's a herdbeast-head, if you squint… a lot. Yeah, okay, she's got nothing here. She leaves them to Altrea and those with more experience - Jaye seems to actually know what she's doing, even! - and drifts back to looking for tracks that aren't from the others tromping ground before she gets to it. Which, under the circumstances, means she ends up listening in on the talk of former renegades in the area - and to Kimmila's lecture, even if it's not directed at her. There are details there she hasn't heard, but they don't seem to shock her. She already knows Laris is dangerous! Probably at least as much as anyone here who isn't Kimmila or from Fort. She's seen him face to face (and oh, is he creepy). So, as Kimmila looks around, she doesn't look away… or talk back. Yeah, maybe she's been having fun with this as an adventure, but… it's hard not to, when you're fourteen turns. Besides, after this morning's discovery… there's not nearly as much left of that mood.

Idrissa has managed to catch up to the others, her steps not rushed though, and steady as she follows along on the path that she was told everyone else went out on. Only thing is she didn't get the rest of that conversation where she most likely was /not/ suppose to have followed. Yet here she is, her bright gaze flicking around curiusly and carefuly to take in everything until she pauses once at the tail end of the group. Though she does catch the ending bit of Kimmila's conversation and errs softly to herself. Yet she is utterly quiet, not about to make a peep after all that. She catches sight of Soriana, but as her friend is further up front she will hang back for now. Stones, an markings, with the other items that have been found she can't help but wonder what might be on those stones, which she is peering at as best she can from the place she happens to be.

Th'ero isn't one to really talk much and sharing information he doesn't find necessarily crucial is even rarer still. But the Fortian Weyrleader isn't focused on that topic of discussion, eyes now lingering on Jaye as the scarred brownrider goes about gathering her materials. Her confidence and knowledge seem to have the bronzerider focusing on her and not so much out of interest, though he's careful to school his expression from telling too much. He would've likely remained observing her if Kimmila's outburst didn't snare his attention next. Turning his head just enough to catch her long stare, he shoots her a narrowed look in return. A silent way of saying: 'you said too much'. "Enough, Kimmila." Th'ero murmurs to her in a tone that is low and too calm and one she'll likely understand. It's a subtle warning: the point has been made, the threat realized, but not to push it any further. Saying nothing further, though giving the Western bluerider one last final, long look he turns back to Thea, no apology given for the words just shared. "Is this Kefai still alive?" he asks her next, as his gaze slides up the trail. With most of the group stopped now, some riders have taken defensive positions, still on alert despite the discovery of the marks. There's a stiff nod given to the information shared though and Th'ero is back to mulling it over in his head. Not that he has much time to think the details through. Idrissa's arrival is noted only by the fact that the messages is passed to him through Velokraeth by other rider's dragons and he turns his head to frown a little. Another one? Even so, he gestures for the girl to approach, though there's a sidelong glance to Thea as he does. "Did you follow us alone?" he asks Idrissa, not sounding entirely scolding but his low voice hints that the Weyrleader is likely just wanting to know if more are going to pop up soon.

Jaye grabs a couple of her fellow wingriders or whomever is available and close enough for her to grab. "Watch m'back." She grunts towards them, settling in now to squat near the marked rock, carefully examining the symbols and copying them to a slip of paper she had also pulled from her pouch. And, well, if anyone else has anything to say to her, they're speaking to deaf ears as the scarred brownrider proceeds to lose herself in this translation thing. Deft hand proceeds to scrawl this and that upon the paper while dark eyes remain fixed upon those mysterious markings. Well, hopefully there are other clues because she wouldn't recommend going off of her clue strictly by itself. Whilst ears remain open and listening, voice remains absent as she concentrates on the task at hand. No one will be able to call her a slacker, that's for certain.

Altrea considers Kimmila for a long while with the ease of youth and nonchalance. She takes a deep breath and tries to say in the most reasonable, placid tone she can muster, "No disrespect, ma'am, but I'm only trying to understand the situation. All your fuss and anger doesn't help me figure out who this man is, how he got from one continent to another, or what his agenda might be now, and ALL of that would be mighty helpful in actually catching up. Right now we're chasing ghosts, and you can't fight those." Altrea lifts her chin. "And I may not know much about weyrfolk or life in the ranks or armed men trying to kill me, but I know a whole heck of a lot about finding people. I realize I'm out of line talking back and I promise I won't say another word, I just wanted you to know… I /am/ serious. I just don't always seem that way."

After her answer to Jaye's question, Thea's attention returns to keeping an eye on their surroundings. Pacing to the perimeter of the area, eyes constantly moving over the ground and rocks towering over this place and finger resting lightly on the trigger of her crossbow, she watches. Other than her eyes shooting over at Th'ero in a surprised jerk at the revelation that an attempt had been made to take him out - she did not know that! - she shows little emotion to Kimmila's rebuke. Unruffled, unimpressed but mostly, in silent support and total agreement for she saw Laurali's fear of the man firsthand. She shakes her head with firm finality, "If Kefai is still alive he doesn't exist in our times. We're pretty sure he wanted dragonriders or he wouldn't have had anything to do with his goldriding daughter once she'd impressed. But Luciath never rose to mate again or the bronzes would have known. We believe Kate took her father - Kefai - and slipped Between Times with Luciath." Oh she sees Idrissa arrive because she's back there towards the rear of the group when the girl skips in. "What the-" Teeth clamp on the rest of the mutter as she snags a hand around the girl's elbow and pulls her unceremoniously and silently into the center of the group and leaves her next to Soriana. She'll find out later just who let the teen out of camp. "Stick together," she breathes lowly, clinging onto her patience by her fingernails at this point. At least Altrea said 'Ma'am', for which Thea blesses the young woman silently for. "We should… keep looking," she suggests gently.

Kimmila stares right back at Th'ero, unapologetic. But at the same time, she says nothing else on the matter. Well. She wasn't /going/ to, but then Altrea is answering her and she turns to fix the girl with a level, narrow-eyed stare. "That's because no one knows those things," she says, her voice low and deceptively calm. Cool, almost. "You know so much about finding people? Find him then, go ahead," she says, waving a hand towards the trail. "But what're you going to do when you find him, huh?" She snorts. "Stick with the group, kid. And don't call me ma'am. That's my mother." So much for that being a term of respect. Kimmila turns away then, and hops up on a few rocks to get a better look of the area.

There's a fine art to listening in on conversations. You have to be near your targets, but you can't be looking at them, or else they'll realize what you're doing and go silent or hustle you away. So, as Thea and Th'ero continue talking, Soriana lets her gaze drift outwards. Okay, so it's not really tracking, but she's not really a tracker. She's more an eavesdropper, at the moment, staring out to… huh. What's that, there on that bit of fencing? Sori takes a step toward it, peering intently enough that she entirely misses Idrissa's arrival. That's not just a plant, she doesn't think, but… she can't really see from this distance. She turns to find someone to tell, and blinks as she discovers Idrissa next to her. When'd that happen? Ah, but never mind that - "Thea!" she says eagerly. The weyrwoman's certainly a someone! "There's something caught on that fence up there." She points.

Idrissa catches the gesture from the Weyrleader and she suddenly gets a bad feeling that perhaps there was more she should have questioned other then which way the group may have went wandering in. Her elbow is snagged before she can say or move another step and she isn't about to try and pull it away from whom she sees has hold of it. She inches over closer to Soriana. "Well..yes.." Is offered rather quickly to Th'ero, which may or may not be worse for Rissa in the long run. Though she at least tells the truth! A quick glance of apology is sent up to Thea. That little voice in the back of her mind going /bad idea/ for her joining the group. She peers back at Soriana, a faint heh escapes her along with a slight wiggle of her fingers to her friend before she she looks towards where Sori has spotted something.

Well, the feline is out of the bag now as far as that detail does and Th'ero is none too pleased that the tidbit about his one on one fight with Laris is now publicly known. Known too that he botched it and nearly paid with his life for it and the fact that the man is still abroad and in Xanadu is because the Fortian Weyrleader's sword couldn't reach it's mark. So if he notices Thea's surprised look, he ignores it and plays it off. If the Xanadu Weyrwoman wants to question him later in private, he'll answer her. But for now he's quietly stubborn on the matter. Besides, there are other pressing matters. He gives Jaye another long and hard look as the brownrider settles in to decipher the markings, Th'ero looking almost conflicted before his attention turns again to his discussion with Thea, "I think you and I need to set aside some time to go over this… Kefai and his history." He murmurs, giving no explanation for his request but leaving it there for her to accept or reject. As she moves off to take care of Idrissa's arrival, Th'ero frowns at the girl's reply. "Don't wander these parts alone," he warns her, but seeing as Thea has come in to take the girl over to Soriana, he says little else. Moving off to join Kimmila again, he steps up close to the bluerider's side but not interfering. He had caught enough of the sharp words shared between her and Altrea and now the Weyrleader is simply there and silent. Not scolding or reprimanding and his mood is hard to read. Pensive perhaps, but under his heavy frown little seems to show. As the call goes out again that something more has been found, he turns his head and then glances up to Kimmila. "Think it will be anything of use?" he murmurs to her, then turns his head back to where Jaye still continues to work.

Altrea seems pretty pleased with the whole exchange, and rather content to let it go on such a 'high note'. Stay with the group? Don't mind if she does! Well, kind of. She does sort of pace off to one side, snooping on the fringes of the trail to look for signs of passage not caused by the feet of their troup. Like…that bit of cloth Sori spotted. "Looks like something came off the road here. Must have snagged on the wire as it passed. She how the grass is growing bent?" She looks up towards the rise and the pasture and squints behind her glasses. "This can't be that old. Birds or Firelizards probably would have come to pick it off for nesting material soon enough." Tracking signs outside, not so different than tracking in old dusty caverns after all!

That fence is further up the trail and Thea is amenable to moving that way - before certain parties can get into further debate and narrow-gazed eyeing of each other, even! She gestures for Soriana to go ahead and get whatever she's pointing to - it's hard to say at this distance what the other is looking at, though she squints that way. As for Th'ero, other than that little glance, there's no awkward questions coming from her regarding what might have happened. This is neither the time nor place for that and she picked up on that TMI stare he'd given Kimmila. Besides, she's silently puzzling over the intense interest the Fortian Weyrleader has taken in a man she's considered no longer a threat for a long time. She gives him an uncertain sort of smile, "Sure." Then headtilts to indicate they should move on, following the girls as they head for the fence.

Kimmila would tell the story of Th'ero and Laris' battle in a much different way. Including trying to smack the guilt out of the curly haired Weyrleader's brain. She turns her head when he approaches, and up here on the rock with folks going to check out whatever-it-is that's been found, her expression softens just a tad. "I doubt it," she answers him. "This whole thing is turning into a farce," she murmurs softly, so only he can hear. "I'm ready to break off on my own and go see what Varmiroth and I can find from the air." Impatient much? Why, yes! "What do you think of all this?" She gives Thea a nod, but does not yet move from her rock perch, letting the group continue on past her.

…okay. So. Idrissa wasn't in the group when they set out, 'cause Soriana would have noticed. Who's the troublemaker now, huh? "What're you doing here?" she asks softly, sticking with the group even as Altrea wanders away from it. Yes, yes, in the course of tracking and all, but still! Sori glances out again, looking for the things Altrea's talking about while staying dutifully with the group… until Thea gives permission! At which point all bets are off, as the girl darts on ahead and leaves the rest to keep up or catch up. Tracks? Yeah, there are tracks now. Her tracks! The fence, when reached, proves to have a scrap of green fabric, which she carefully plucks off it with a triumphant grin. Evidence! This… hold on a minute. There's something more visible from her current angle. Soriana's smile disappears as she crouches down, pushing back grass and lifting up a muddied glove with a frown and a careful touch. Like it's a poison tunnelsnake or something… no, actually, she'd probably be happier about one of those.

Idrissa has been hanging around Soriana too long, she is becoming corrupted! She shakes her head a moment an isn't about to go into detail with Soriana as why she is hear when she has at least one weyrleader giving her the eyeing that makes her a wee bit worried. "Yes.. sir.." Is offered quickly onc emore to Th'ero, she is still ever so respectful. Her gaze follows after Soriana as she darts off to check the fence, Rissa on the other hand doesn't go following all that quickly not wanting to cause anymore problems that she already has. She follows though after making sure Thea is well following too. Her bright gaze lingers on the bit of fabric on the fench up until Sori plucks it off. "What did you find?" After everything they found in the cave she is well, more curious about everything in the area now.

Th'ero gives Thea another nod as the Xanadu Weyrwoman accepts his offer and then lets the matters slide. She'll find out soon enough why the Weyrleader is so interested in this Kefai figure and it's obviously a sensitive subject if he's not wishing to bring it up now. Not even a hint, for those who are trying to sneakily eavesdrop. Then most of the group is moving on, some Wingriders remaining behind with Jaye while the rest go on up the trail to guard and observe for those approaching the new find. The Fortian Weyrleader remains by Kimmila's side and his head turns to look over to her again and this time he does give her an open look of disapproval. "Give it time," he tells her, which is as close to a 'no, you're not going off on your own' as she's going to get. "For now we stick together. It's hard enough to keep track of both this group, the patrols above and the camp." As for his opinion when she asks, he only snorts and shakes his head and his reply is simple and blunt, "Necessary." He mutters lowly and leaves it to that, but his frown softens just the slightest and in a quieter murmur to her, he adds. "Well discuss things later. Now is not the time." Because Soriana is darting off, with Altrea not far away and Idrissa likely in her wake and at first Th'ero pays little mind to the words that reach his ears. A scrap of cloth, which could be anything. But a glove? Suddenly the Fortian Weyrleader is on the move with no warning, weaving past those who have come to a stop near the fence to get a glimpse of the newest clue. "May I see that?" he asks, even though his hand is already extending towards Soriana with his abrupt arrival. Yes, maybe she would be happier with a poison tunnelsnake.

Altrea makes a few sounds of disapproval, a bit like squawking, as everyone stomps all over her tracks. So much for that. She sighs and lets them be happy with hte glove. That's kinda cool. "Is the top clear?" she asks, checking to see if the riding scouts are up there. "There could be more tracks." She'll take a big beefy man with her even!

Jaye has remained behind, with her two fellows watching her back, she has written the symbols down on the paper now and settles with a frown and a nibble of lower lip to try and decipher them, scrawling this here and that over there. Can we say one-trck mind? Yes, well, this brownrider seems to have just that. Taptaptap goes her pencil on the paper as she ponders. "Got it!" Suddenly emits from the scarred rider's lips. "Itsa name. I dunna recognize it tho. An' I think these are some sorta d'rections." She points at another part of the copy of the markings she had made. (Player will let the weyrleader decide details on what they say.) She realizes the others have paused at the fence and heads that way to try and see what they came up with, even pushing her way through some of the folk in the back of the group to get a better look.

Thea is just a step or two behind Soriana. Two of the few beefy riders who had been amongst the leaders, stride past her to check the mud hut out. So the girl isn't really off on her own, technically. If others have firelizards who are flittering along overhead, the flock is suddenly minus two - a brown and a gold - who peel off and zip ahead and inside an open window of that mud hut over by the fence. A moment or two later they zoom back out the window, the brown landing on the Weyrwoman's shoulder with a satisfied chirp. "Shep says the building is empty," she announces to the group. The two riders, who are getting ready to do a 'tuck-roll-cover me' sort of move over there by the door eye her and mutter a touch deflated, obviously disappointed in having their preparation made moot but they stride in to check it out anyway. She peers over her shoulder at Jaye's jubilcant cry, both brows raised. She figured out that chicken-scratching on the rock? Interesting! "Top?" Altrea's question causes Thea's eyes to flicker up to the rocky pinnacle. "If they want to land there, I suppose they could, but we're not going up there. We're going through there." And she points to what looks like the rock wall. She's near Soriana when Th'ero walks up and wants to see the glove, her attention is back to him, watching keenly. Hmm.

Kimmila scowls a bit at Th'ero, but when he's moving off, so is she, hopping down off the rock and walking to his side and peering at the glove with a deepening frown. Turning her head, she also peers back at Jaye. "How?" she calls to the brownrider. How on Pern did she figure that out?

Soriana may not be alone, technically speaking, but she's not paying much attention to the rest of the entourage. Or even to Idrissa as the other girl asks her question. She sticks her hand inside the glove. It's far too big for her… and in most of the fingers, that bad fit is obvious. Not in all of them. A few look… almost natural, except for the incongruity of large fingers on a small hand. They're fingers fit to the size of the glove, not the girl wearing it. Fingers that are part of the glove, her own curled up against her palm instead. She's staring at it when Th'ero arrives, and at his request, she looks up and nods. "Yessir," she says. She doesn't seem frightened of him - there's no hesitation in her gaze - but she is utterly serious as she removes the glove and hands it to the weyrleader.

Idrissa has paused a few steps behind Soriana, her gaze flicking over the glove curiously before her attention turns towards the hut that is some distance away an of the riders that are off to check it out. She ponders but is quiet, no reason to comment about a thing at the moment, she's already drawn enough attention to hersepf as she feels for now! At the voice of Th'ero over near Soriana she looks back, an inches ever closer to her friend and peers over her shoulder at the glove once more.

Th'ero will likely be asking the similar questions as Kimmila and have just as much interest as Thea as to how Jaye translated those marks and what they could possibly mean. For now though, the Fortian Weyrleader's focus is on Soriana and that glove that she is now sticking her hand into. That earns a bit of a frown, both questioning and disapproving again but he keeps his patience in check. As it's handed over, his hand closes around it firmly and he takes a slight step back from both her and Idrissa. "Thank you," he murmurs distractedly. It takes only the span of a few heartbeats and while Th'ero doesn't try it on, just feeling those strange features in the fingers have his grip suddenly tightening enough to crush the leather. If that doesn't give away enough, the sudden dark look to his features speak volumes, though his voice never rises in anger or excitement. It just stays unnervingly low and cold as he says one single word (or name in this case) as he turns to face both Kimmila and then Thea. "Laris." Any nearby Fortian rider is suddenly on higher alert, though no weapons are drawn … yet. It's clear they're waiting on their Weyrleader's orders rather then charging ahead.

Altrea gives Thea a grimace and looks up the spire. She sighs. Not that top. Not bothering to correct the weyrwoman since she's mouthed off more than enough today, she instead simply looks up at where she points. Drama with the glove? Ignored.

"Maehwazeyeth helped." Answers Jaye in response to the Western bluerider's query of how she figured the chicken scratch marks out. So, the brown figured the marks out? Well, she didn't exactly say that, but she's not very forthcoming right now with any more information than what is required for this particular situation. "He's helped me r'member a lot of things from m'past. Th'name is nay Laris, tho, it says Kefai." Briefly the glove has the scarred brownrider's attention, though she doesn't proceed to request it for her own observation, she will let her Weyrleader do that, she's done her part for now. Dark unreadable eyes narrow briefly at Th'ero's mention of the name, but otherwise show no emotions about it. She pulls out a waterskin from her pack, taking a long draught from it before stepping away from the main group and looking at the words she had gotten from the rock, moving silently southwards after studying the directions part of the translation. When she comes to another wall, she furrows her brow and looks it over curiously. Stay with the group? Yeah, Jaye isn't paying much attention to those orders at the moment, though her eyes do travel upwards briefly, where a dark shadow of dragon flies not too far above, hovering protectively in the air above his rider. Jaye is, apparently, a brownrider on a mission.. or something like that.

Thea's attention sharpens when she sees just how that glove is fitting Soriana, but there's no recognition in it, only curiosity. The gaze she has trained upon Th'ero, however is another story. She's noted the quiet intensity of the man and when his face changes and his grip tightens on the glove, she knows before he speaks just whose glove they've found. "You have sharp eyes. Well done, Soriana," she says warmly enough but her face tells another story. Disquiet and bleak concern as she shifts her pale green eyes to the plains below and stares towards the direction the Weyr lies far to the north. The silence only broken by the lonely sound of the wind rattling the thatched roof of the abandoned mud hut. This spot gives a clear view all the way to the Sea of Azov, seen as a glimmering line upon the horizon. "He's come a long, long way in just several sevens. I doubt he's managed that alone." Which means he's sure to have gathered a small band of men while at Xanadu. That her eyes unfocus tells she's relaying some sort of message back to Xanadu and Romth for Xe'ter via Seryth. By the time she returns, there ought to be a neatly-compiled list of just who has left the Weyr, when and why lying on her desk. Probably alphabetized, tagged and color-coded to boot. "We definitely need to have a look at that old stronghold we'd found, because I'm guessing if Laris has come this far, he's found it too. But you should know, there's no way for dragons to land in there. Which is probably why that spot was chosen." This fact, once it is revealed, probably explains why she misunderstood Altrea's question. Jaye speaks then and simply… starts walking, and now it's Thea's turn to stare fixedly. "You… know. You know what the writing says because you're going the right way!" Her hand has lifted and she's pointing to Jaye.

Kimmila's eyes narrow and darken at the word from Th'ero, her hand flexing on her bow. Green eyes flick towards Jaye, and though she has more questions for the brownrider, now is not the time. But she does tuck them away for later, especially the hazy connection between the markings and Jaye's past. And while Jaye might be on a mission to go THAT-A-WAY, it seems that Kimm's mission is to stay by Th'ero's side, eying the glove and then scanning the group. And as Thea speaks, the Western rider's eyes flick to Jaye once again, focusing intently on the brownrider. "How can you read that?" she asks again, suspicion in her voice. The time has come, apparently, to demand more answers from the poor scarred brownrider.

"And what exactly does it say?" Thea demands, uncharacteristic sharpness in her tone on the heels of Kimmla's question.

Whatever displeasure Th'ero may have with Soriana, it's utterly insignificant when compared to his reaction to Laris. The girl makes no response to frown nor thanks - just watches him investigate, and when he speaks the name, she nods her head ever so slightly, acknowledging it even though he's not speaking to her. Why should he? She's just a kid, along on a serious mission that is growing more serious with each turn of events. At Thea's praise, she looks to the Xanadu weyrwoman and smiles briefly, though it's gone a moment later as her attention is drawn to the striding Jaye and the pointed questions being asked. After the dead dragons in the cave - renegades and dragons - nothing quite seems impossible, and Soriana reaches out to snag Idrissa by the elbow and drag the other girl closer to some of the Xanadu riders, ones she knows… and trusts.
Idrissa frowns at the name given from Th'ero, oh yes she knows that name from everything going on and her gaze lingers on the glove, so that was his gove huh? A faint smile is offered to Soriana and she gives her shoulder a slight pat to show she agrees with what Thea has said on the matter of finding it! Though the talk is quickly turning, questions towards the one rider that was studying the walk and whom is now walking away from the group. Perhaps a bit of tension being picked up and she has no problem following along with Soriana closer towards the Xanadu riders.

Th'ero's mood has gone downwards steadily since their trek began, aided by exhaustion and a restless night of sleep. With the glove still clutched fiercely in one hand, he seems oblivious for a moment of Jaye's discovery and the name she supplies, as well as where the brownrider is breaking off from the main group. A few Wingriders turn to watch where she goes, but most are still keenly watching their Weyrleader, obviously knowing well enough not to prod him when he's in this state. He's not taking in the sights much either, though his dark gaze does scan the area and his frown grows heavier at Thea's words, "No, he's likely not alone. The man is craftier then I thought. Who knows how many are under his control now." He's likely come to the same conclusions, that it's likely he's gathered more to his band in his stay at Xanadu. Yet more information he'll have to take up with the Weyrwoman, but if Xe'ter's work is in fact there (and so neatly organized!) it will make it a little less of a headache. Just a teeny little bit. "What stronghold?" Th'ero asks, his voice flat and low, his eyes focusing on Thea once more. "Can the dragon's still reach it by air?" he asks next, the barest of sideglances given to the Wingriders around them, Xanadu and Fortian both. When Jaye's translation of the marks comes into play again, both by Thea and Kimmila, the Weyrleader turns his head back to his own brownrider and his eyes narrow just a fraction more. With the important questions asked, he suddenly turns back to Soriana and Idrissa, handing the glove back to them. "Hold this. And continue to keep an eye out." He says briskly in a rather roundabout way of praise, if it is even that. Then he's straightening again and making a few gestures with his hands. Whatever they are, they're subtle cues and a few Wingriders move off… to do what, it's uncertain for now but they remain within the group.

Altrea seems a wee bit exhasperated. "So how much of a lead were you planning to give this guy while you aunties cluck?" she presses her lips together and leans against a fence post, catching herself when it wobbles a little in its anchoring. "Never mind, carry on. She's a spy, she's not a spy, there's an old glove in the mud, there may be nefarious bad guys up that pass, but please, let's all wait for them to get more entrenched and better fortified and better equiped." She shakes her head and shoves away. "I'm going home."

Jaye retains that cool calm poker face, even as she's questioned by the other riders. Dark klah eyes unfocus briefly as a rather defined rumble emits from the shadow above her. "Says t'go south t'th'wall where th'blood flows.." She answers the query from the Weyrwoman of what it says honestly. As for the questioning of how she knew what it said, she lifts one shoulder in a half-shrug, dark eyes drifting over the girls that are now slinking closer to the Xanadu riders with a frown upon her face. "That, Bluerider, is a long story, and nay one 'ppropriate t'be tol' in th'presence of children." And, well, that is her only answer at the moment for the Western rider as the scarred woman returns back to her study of the wall, taking another long draught from her waterskin, which any that may actually know the rider will know likely is not just plain water. "Just know that I know, an' leave it at that." The woman speaks with a deep and purposeful glance at the questioning riders, which likely means leave it alone because she's not going to discuss it. At least, you know, for now. A glance to Altrea, briefly, as she mentions going home. "She's right, while y'all're questionin' m'assistance, they could be gatherin' more forces or watchin' us right now an' jus' waitin' fer a chance t'ambush us." With that, she draws one of her blades and proceeds to move passed the wall, and into the pass beyond. The rest can follow or not, their call.

"And stay close," Thea says to the two teens almost absently as she concentrates on Th'ero, though the no-nonsense tone she uses makes clear her concern for their safety. "The stronghold we found back when we came looking for Kafai," she notes with a gesture of her chin towards the towering and seemingly impenetrable rock wall before them. "There's no way for dragons to land in there," she repeats, then clarifies, "The only access inside is though a crevice that is water-worn and widens at the bottom where the encampment was found. It's too narrow for them. We can send firelizards in to sweep first though. I imagine if they know we're here, they've probably gone already." Altrea's remarks draw a sharp glance. "Stay!" The command is as sharp as anyone will likely ever hear her speak. Because if Altrea is going home, it's going to be a long walk and what riders aren't guarding the camp below are sweeping the area above them, so there are no taxis currently available. When Jaye elaborates, she points beyond the rider to a rust-red stain trailing down the cliff - an iron seep glistening with moisture as the water trickles down. "Through there-" and the brown and gold firelizards of hers zip past Jaye in obedience to a silent command. As one steps towards the cliff the perspective changes, the cleft becomes visible. Oh, she's going in but she's not going to be foolhardy enough to rush blindly in there. And she's going to let the beefy riders and Th'ero go in first. Her headtilt to Kimmila indicates she want the bluerider with her - they've got the distance weapons after all and the two of them can shoot high if there people stationed above as they head in. "The dragons say there is no one up top," she reports. "Shep doesn't seem to see any humans in there." But inside that cleft, the white sand underfoot is marred with footprints.

Kimmila turns to stare at Altrea, and the bluerider just laughs. "If you want a ride, Varmiroth would be more than happy to take you home and drop you. This is not a situation you want to rush into." Seems she's not upset to see the back of that one. But at Thea's command for the girl to stay, Kimm just shrugs. Green eyes flick to Jaye, and the bluerider snorts. "Ambush is possible, yes, but we're hardly vulnerable right here." What with scouts all around, dragons in the sky and on land, and a group of heavily armed and well trained riders and guards. "They'd have to be stupid to ambush us right now. I'd welcome it, in fact." And her grip on her bow twists as she frowns at Jaye's back. With a glance back at Th'ero, the bluerider then follows after the brownrider, notching an arrow into her bow. If Jaye is leading them into an ambush, the brownrider's going to get an arrow in her back. But, again, Thea's command has her pausing, and the bluerider shifts over to the goldrider's side.

Soriana takes the glove back. Poison tunnelsnake indeed! It's certainly got things all stirred up. Th'ero's words get a combination of mild surprise and a smile. "Yessir," she says again, because, praise or not, it's certainly an instruction! Along with Thea's one to keep close. "Yes'm." She's got quiet a few instructions… staying with the group, keeping by Idrissa, and, oh yeah, those ones from her mother way back when to keep away from any danger. It's maybe a bit late for that part, but she'll see what she can do about the rest. Like… keeping an eye on Jaye and the answers to many interesting questions… oh, but how she frowns at one part of that. Children. Really? She's all but an adult in the eyes of the Charter. Just one turn short! And far more responsible than some, like Altrea over there throwing a temper tantrum. Maybe that's why, when Thea's firelizards dart in to explore, there's a second brown shape following the gold as Soriana's pet joins them, the girl's eyes ever so slightly unfocused as she puts her practice around the weyr to use in getting a first glimpse of what lies beyond… even as she herself follows instructions.

Idrissa nods at one instruction and then another. "Yes'em." Is said quickly, not about to go against anything said to her, now at least! With Soriana there she follows along, her bright green gaze flicking one way and then another, a times up towards the mountain and then through the trees. She clears her throat and casts a glance towards Altrea and lifts a brow, her expression showing it all 'what is her problem?' A faint shake of her head is seen, and she pauses once the others do, catching sight of the firelizards going to explore the tunnel. As she caught sight of a certain brown lizard she looks over to Soriana and can only wonder what she might be seeing thanks to Toral.

Th'ero isn't too far gone into his mood or his disturbed thoughts not to miss most of Altrea's little outburst. He fixes her with such a disapproving, narrowed and cold look it's little surprise the Weyrleader doesn't just grab her then and drag her back. But then Thea is commanding the girl to stay and he can only snort, his eyes and thus his focus moving away and on to the next target or issue. Which of course goes straight to Jaye as the brownrider begins to take the lead towards the pass, which he can now see thanks to her and the Weyrwoman. The discovery brings little pleasure though, only more concern and growing disquiet and unrest to the bronzerider. He doesn't like this situation one bit but things have come to far for him to begin calling it off now. Thea's description of the local only has Th'ero's mouth pulling down into a tight and grim line. "Likely they've had plenty of warning, if that meatroll from earlier is proof." He murmurs gruffly. Eyes unfocus for a moment, more commands passed off and his Wingriders take up stragetic positions, either solo or as accompanment to Xanadu riders and non-riders alike. It's thoughtfully done, those moving into place doing so based on skill or weapons. Th'ero takes his place ahead of Kimmila and Thea, one of his hands pulling back to slide his sword free of it's scabbard with an ominous and quiet sound. "Regardless, everyone is to stay on guard and alert. Sigh and /sound/." The Weyrleader stresses, with a few pointed glances to some for his hint at silence while they progress through and he gives the signal for Jaye to proceed (if she hasn't already), leaving it to the brownrider to lead ahead. At least this way he's behind her and can observe, if need be.


Xanadu Weyr Area - A Hidden Campsite

Pass is perhaps a rather generous term for this area of mountain — the cleft running through the cliff runs in southerly direction deep inside the towering rockface leaving barely room for two people to walk abreast, but in many places it narrows so that people entering have no choice but to pass though in single file. Darkly shadowed inside, narrow and twisting, this passage is so deep that the rays of sunlight filtering down here illuminates nothing but a few patches of white sand underfoot.

On the other side of the passage, upon stepping out one can see that the chasm widens, but only at the base. Far above, the top of the cleft remains narrowed so the gloom of the area pervasive even when Rukbat is overhead. There is enough illumination to see pockmarked caves and a small waterfall gushing down the furthest end – probably the same flow that carved this chasm.

Outside one of the caves there is evidence that there was a campfire here as a cook pot is settled into the ashes of a long dead fire. In front of another cave is evident that the area was occupied by more than one human, as there's a cesspit releasing its stink to the surroundings.

Altrea probably meant home-home, but who's keeping track anymore. She yawns and stays on the fence post, feigning stupid obedience and indeeding, staying. If they want to observe sight and sound, they'd all have to be quiet. She can, at least, do that. Uh. Maybe. So far, so good, as she brings up the rear and catching a spot on the edge of the cavern. Uh, somebody's got to watch their backs, right?

Jaye has no fear of death, apparently, at least if she were to die in this search party trying to hunt down Laris and his crew, she'd die an honourable death. She allows the Weyrwoman's firelizards to enter the crevice before her, soon followed by her own little gold and her bronzen followers that had been hanging up with Maehwazeyeth. Well, one thing for sure, if the crevice is dark, Jaye's golden Jingle's glowing hide could quite possibly be enough in itself to light the way. The shadowbeast above shoots glances about his fellow dragons, glaring and snorting at any sign of distrust about his rider. Afterall, he trusts Jaye one hundren percent and he knows all her past demons. Jaye still lingers right there at the entrance to the crevice, sword still drawn, likely waiting for any signal from her fair that it's clear to enter. And, well, since no one is stopping her, at the signal from her gold, not the other gold or the browns, she moves into the crevice silently with her weapon at the ready, one bronze falling back to land upon her shoulder facing the followers so he can watch her back so to speak, just in case. See, no ambush, hopefully, as she emerges back into the open at the other side, shotting a glance of dark eyes around with a muttered something or other.

Yes, well rebellious girl alone on the trail descending back to their ridge camp doesn't sound like a great idea to Thea, so Altrea, annoying as the girl is being, is given a short nod and then left to stand with the riders who are acting as the rear guard, watching both the backtrail and the entrance to that cleft they're entering. Thea's crossbow is up and ready this time, pointed slightly up and over the heads of the ones in front of her as she paces beside Kimmila. Either one of them can shout, 'down in front' if they need to shoot straight ahead - hopefully the well-trained folk in front have quick enough reflexes to hit the dirt should they need to. As they emerge on the other side, the golden shafts of sunlight flicker intermittently dragons flash overhead and their shadows block the light briefly. The cesspit, they can smell since there's little airflow to stir the air down here. The Weyrwoman takes a step to one side, covering the group while scanning the space inside and above, firelizards flit in and out of caves but there are no chitters of alarm - a good sign. Some of the riders begin systematically and carefully checking the caves out.

Kimmila's own firelizards are absent, too wild to be of much use in here other than causing trouble. The bluerider shifts to the other edge of the group, bow drawn and at the ready as they all walk forwards. The cesspit is, of course, easily noticed and after a moment's hesitation, the bluerider walks over there. Someone has to check it out, right? If she wanted to hide something, this is where she'd hide it, because who wants to poke through a cesspit? With another scan of the area she crouches down and pokes the point of her arrow into it, giving a startled little grunt when the point clanks against something metal. Now what? Sure she's going to contract some sort of disease, the bluerider, hunter, and mother of one pulls on one of her riding gloves and pulls out the box, setting it quickly aside and pushing open the lid with the end of her arrow. "I found something," she calls, eyes widening as she sees within the box a number of shoulder knots of various ranks and associations. "Damnit."

Soriana enters the hidden passage, but she is not the first, second, nor even third. Not even close. She's not at the rear of the group, either. She is, instead, solidly in the middle of it, along with Idrissa. Safest place, right? Probably. Unless there's a carefully planned ambush meant to strike there, which apparently there isn't, given that they make it through. Her firelizard joins the rest in investigating, and she's looking around as well. Sori's nose wrinkles at the smell, but as Kimmila finds something in that smelly cesspit she takes a step or three toward and peers curiously!

Idrissa pauses only a moment to let her eyes get use to the darkness within the cave, an once it does she is busy looking one way then another, an she does look upwards more then a face times as there may be places to hide up thar! While everyone moves about, or standing guard and the like, some move towards the cesspit, and she moves slowly over towards the fire. She remembers the bits of burned paper she found down within the cave with the broken eggs and dragon corpse so she figures it is a good place to look. Though she makes sure there is someone else around in that area as well so she won't be on her lonesome. She crouches down pushes some of the ash about inthe long dead fire, and while she is rather sure someone was burned there no bits of paper to be found this time. She brushes her hands off and glances over towards Kimmila's and what she has found.

There will be no further questioning of Jaye's abilities or past for now, as they venture further into the pass; Th'ero's mind is focused on other matters. It's not likely that he'll get a chance to pull the brownrider aside for sometime, so for now he lets the issue rest and keeps his observations to the surrounding area. He's not planning to die or let anyone suffer that fate. The Weyrleader wants no injuries even, but that would be counting some very good luck and fate. But there is no ambush and there isn't hints of relief in the bronzerider save for a slight lessening of the tension in his shoulders. As Th'ero steps out into wider part of the chasm, he blinks his eyes a bit to adjust to the gloom and his two firelizards appear and swoop down to join in the investigations of the caves, one green and one brown who looks more tunnel snake then firelizard. What is up with the bronzerider collecting Pern's ugliest? No alarm comes, but he keeps his sword held close to his side and pointed down as he steps back towards where Thea has taken up her cover. "This area would have been perfect," Th'ero remarks bitterly. "Have any considered destroying the passage? Blocking it?" Kimmila is moving off then and the Weyrleader follows her progress with a questioning look as she heads closer to the cesspit. He doesn't seem surprised at all though at what the bluerider does next and at her curse, he steps closer. The moment his eyes catch a glimpse of the contents of the box, Th'ero's own curses, growled under his breath follow. "Shard it all," Not very Weyrleader-like but his rising frustrations allow for the slip up. Clenching his jaw, he turns his head to Thea then, eyes as dark as his scowl and his voice flat. "Explains how they've been able to blend in. Knots. Varying ranks." Which means they're dealing with folk clever enough for the chameleon act. That has a few among the group glancing at each other suspiciously, which instantly quelled from a sharp look from Th'ero.

Jaye also moves towards where the bluerider pulls the box from the cesspit, that would have been the brownrider's first search as well, she knows how these people think. Glancing into the box as it's opened, she nods to herself, not saying anything to those around. She does, however, take note of the various ranks and associations of the knots, putting them to memory in case they may be required later, better to be safe than sorry. Mental note taken, she scratches her branded wrist briefly and tugs a hand through her hair, moving on now to examine other things, like that old extinguished fire with the cooking pot upon it, arriving there at the same time as Idrissa. She pokes around a bit in the ashes after Idrissa does, but the girl's assessment seems to be correct, nothing here. A glance into the cooking pot proves to be nothing but moldy leftovers, no luck there either. She hmms, straightening up to glance around at the various caves, she could definitely see people living here, she had lived in plenty caves just like this herself. She sends Jingle and her followers off to examine the caves, something to keep them busy and out of the way since they had done the job she had asked them prior. Finally the brownrider sheathes her sword and retrieves her waterskin again, leaning against a rock to sip at it thoughtfully. "If they was 'ere, they're long gone by now." She states the obvious.

Thea has been here before and pretty much knows what the place looks like, so her focus is on covering the group, keeping her eyes moving and watching the walls above them and the entrances of the caverns opening into this place. Only when the all-clear is given does she lower the weapon, but she keeps the the safety off and her finger on the trigger. Though it's now pointed at the ground, she is ready should the need arise. To Th'ero's question, she shakes her head, her tone emotionless as she says carefully, "Our former Weyrwoman was convinced that the renegades had gone and were of no consequence. We were not ordered to look for them." It's what she doesn't say that might indicate that particular decision did not rest well with her. "I'd forgotten about this place - until Laris showed up. He's why I thought to check it. It wouldn't be an easy thing to destroy," her eyes drift up that channel the water has carved from solid rock. "And it might be a perfect place to establish a Watch Weyr-hold or something to use as a base of operations in searching for Laris and keeping watch on our remote borders." Her attention is drawn by Kimmila's call and when the box is revealed she looks even more grave, if possible. "From just about every Weyr and Hold it looks like. Riders badges too. Th'ero, we might have to go to conclave with this. So people can be warned."

Kimmila peels off her fouled glove and tosses it into the pit with another muttered curse. "I need new gloves," she mutters, but it's muttered to herself (or maybe to Varmiroth), as she wipes the point of her arrow off in the dirt. "This camp looks long abandoned though - not as recent as that meatroll. And who knows how long the glove was sitting there," she says, echoing Jaye's assessment. Stepping back so others can get a look, she nods at Thea's suggestion and gives Th'ero a brief but pointed look, that might be missed by most.

Soriana takes a look at ashes and pot, but they're hardly the most interesting at this point. At Thea's suggestion of making a watchpost of this place, she leans closer to Idrissa and says in an undertone, "First step, a proper privy." There's a slight smile, now that the danger's over… at least for now. Those badges speak of other threats, though. So does the conversation. Things are hardly over.

Idrissa eyes the pot a moment once Jaye has it opened, no one has been here for some time indeed. She gives her hands another good brushing but the ash that is left will be staying until she gets her hands washed. She looks to Soriana, a bit of amusement seen in her eyes along with a faint smile and she nods. "Aye.." Is offered back to her friend with a faint murmur. The part on the knots and the like being found she knows rather well is not a good thing to find here. If they left these one has to wonder how many more the bad guys have with them.

Th'ero looks away from the metal box containing the knots and over to where Jaye now stands by the old extinguished fire. His sword is slid back into its scabbard and to judge from the Weyrleader's continued scowl, he has come to the same conclusion. "Aye, it's been some time I think since there have been human habitation here. No too long ago though…" Glancing back to Thea, his fraying control on his temper has him hastily replying before guarding his words. "They should have been! Or this passage guarded or blocked off at the very least. Open as it is now, it's a risk for more riff-raff and possible renegades to camp." He quips sharply, only then to realize his error regardless if he can sense the Weyrwoman's disagreement with her predecessor's orders. Taking a steadying breath, he grimaces. "My apologies. I stepped out of line." In front of Wingrider's too, which should make for some interesting gossip among the riders at least as a Fortian Weyrleader just about crossed a few lines too many with Xanadu's Weyrwoman. "I don't doubt that Laris used this place as his lair. But for how long… Regardless, he's gone." And their search is going to continue, which does not sit well with the Fortian Weyrleader at all. Th'ero's brows raise though at Thea's suggestion, having only though of destroying the passage and nothing more. "That… could be a logical plan. Whers wouldn't be too bothered by the light here." At the mention of the conclave though, his mood turns somber and grim and there is one last glance to those knots and an almost weary, quiet sigh. "It seems so." He agrees in a low tone, catching Kimmila's look then and his grimace only increases. Casting a glance over the cavern, it settles a moment on Soriana and Idrissa and then back to the assembled riders and Thea. "If there is no more then, I say we return to camp. Post some riders here for guard for now. Arrange patrols to scout off ahead further from this point, others to return to the Weyrs for report." Including himself. Before the orders are given though, he waits for agreement.

Well, at least the attention isn't on her for the knots, Jaye earned her knot fair and square, she was searched and impressed right there at Fort so she's probably not some undercover renegade sent to take over Fort Weyr, right? She crosses scarred arms over her chest, still leaning as she is against her rock drinking from her waterskin. "I'll r'main b'hind." That gets a bugle from her shadowbeast as he makes it known that for once he does not agree with his rider's decision for that, especially since he can't get down to her while she's in that area. Dark eyes trail upwards to where she knows her dragon flies. Of course the brown wouldn't agree with being kept away from his lady. "I've lived in places like this afore, s'no big deal fer me." She gives a shrug, then. "Whate'er y'd'cide, Sir, I'll f'llow orders as I a'ways do." The brownrider finally says.

Thea's spine stiffens and her chin lifts at Th'ero's sharp words. "I agree," she says icily with a glance to those nearby riders and a pressing of lips lest she say more in front of them. There's more to that story but she's not about to go into it in public. Instead, she takes a deep breath, allows her ire to fade and inclines her head accepting his apology, albeit stiffly. No, she doesn't make defense for having failed in taking care of this place, shuttering her own feelings behind impassivity, though he may catch a hint of chagrin and frustration both in the ice green of her eyes. Wryly then, she murmurs, "The best lessons are the hardest learned, I'm told. More and more I find this true: being Senior is a lesson in progress." She catches his grimace regarding the conclave, sensitive enough to read that it might be problematic for him in some ways - and both of them are in a little hot water it seems - and so adds quietly, "Or… since conclave can be rife with tension and recriminations - so I've heard - perhaps meeting Weyrleader to Weyrleader and with the Masterharper to spread the alert quietly?" Not having been to a conclave herself, she does know it can be… messy! His suggestion is met with approval and agreement, for she nods immediately, glancing at Jaye when she speaks up. She, for one, doesn't seem to have any problem with the Fortian's involvement says the nod right afterwards. That is, however, up to Th'ero to decide.

Kimmila eyes the still fouled end of her arrow, and with a sigh she keeps it notched. No way she's putting that back into her quiver. Arching a brow at Th'ero's brief outburst, she looks around the area. "It does need to be dealt with," she murmurs quietly. Glancing at Jaye, she then looks back to Th'ero to see what he wants to do with the brownrider. If anything. Green eyes flick between goldrider and bronzerider, a brow arching at the building tension between them.

Soriana reaches out to catch her firelizard as he returns from yet another cave, placing him on her shoulder. Thea and Th'ero's conversation has her interest, though she makes no comment, just looking around this area another time. So this is what real-life adventures are like: scary, smelly, and full of stress.

As the tense conversations start between weyrleaders Idrissa shifts closer to Soriana. Her arms resting losely before her as her bright gaze flicks from one rider to another and she blinks a moment. Though at least the conversation has at least started to turn an get a bit more relaxed in a way. Stress is keyword here at the moment, and there is plenty of it to be found, though she stays rather relaxed an takes it all in as best she can.

Th'ero tenses and stiffens too, posture now completely straight and his shoulders squared as he stands at his full height to match Thea's shift. Subtle preparations of challenge, anyone? He catches those hints though and as before his temper ebbs back and some of the tension with it, enough that things don't crack and snap entirely at the worst possible time. Her wry message is met by the barest of half-smiles and the Fortian Weyrleader nods stiffly, "Indeed. And so is being a Weyrleader. We will learn from our mistakes." Including knowing when he's gone too far. "We shall see. I need to speak with Dtirae on this first but if it's not a Conclave then, I'll definitely consider your alternative." He murmurs quietly to Thea. With his inexperience, a conclave is likely to end disastrously, considering he's not exactly on great footing to start. There is a lot Th'ero would have to answer for that the Fortian Weyrleader is likely unprepared to face. At Jaye's volunteering, he turns to face the scarred brownrider, his heavy frown considering… and then he nods. "Not alone though. Thea, if you would like to post a rider and perhaps some guard here? The entrance should be monitored too." To the rest though, including his own Wingriders, he gives the gesture that commands them to clear out. Any additional orders are given through Velokraeth as the bronze directs which rider goes where. Gesturing to Kimmila, he signals for the bluerider to join him while his gaze slips back to the Weyrwoman, "We return to the camp then?" he asks, most likely meaning Soriana and Idrissa from the quick darting look he gives. Already some of the Wingriders are clearing out and if they have anything to discuss they're wisely waiting until out of ear shot.

Would Jaye be one of those things to discuss? Probably, but then what did she expect after her effective deciphering of that chcken scratch on the rock face. Shoulders squared, she unfocuses as she proceeds into silent soothing of the now rather irate shadowbeast brown of hers who doesn't approve of his lady remaining behind. Eventually she gets him soothed and he arcs through the sky and back towards the clearing where the other dragons and the riders are already likely heading. The scarred brownrider checks her supplies, then, nodding briefly. "Aye, Sir." She speaks, quiet and without any emotion revealed. "Iff'n yer f'nished with me, then, I'll go find m'self someplace t'settle." And with that, the brownrider turns and heads towards the caves, preferably the ones farther away from the stench of the cesspit. Her weyrmate will not be happy about her remaining behind, but, yeah, she hadn't thought about that.

Th'ero's smile draws one from Thea, albeit a wan echo of her normally warm one, self-directed disquiet lingering in her eyes, but also total respect for the Fort Weyrleader shown in that she defers to his suggestion. "Certainly. Perhaps more than a few, even. They'll need to secure this area and make the place habitable." As for returning to camp, she nods, her glance sweeping 'round to include all of the younger people as well. "Seryth tells me that dinner is ready and with the men too busy to flirt with, Darsce has organized the teens back there to decorate the camp and make it all party-pretty. Let's go eat." How much stranger could this little venture have been with that young woman here instead of there? She'd probably have been swooning over stern-faced, hot Weyrleader over there and Kimmila-mauled to boot!

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