Warning: Swearing, Violence (injuries, mention of death)

Fort's Forests — Fort Weyr - Edge of the Forest
The dragon tail river weakens a fair bit as it continues on its inexorable course to the coast, though it's grown placid. As the river weakens, so, too, does the forest begin to thin out, with gaps between the trees growing wider and underbrush becoming more prevalent. Blackberry bushes can periodically be spotted from time to time, as can avians and firelizards of all manner of color. A few hardy species of flowers can also be spotted from time to time, low-lying clusters of red, blue, yellow, and white tucked in amidst the rest of the foliage. The forest smells start to mingle with the saltwater and sea scents from beyond, a curious blending of fresh growth and acrid tang. Meanwhile, the river continues toward the craggy edge of the coast, leaving the cool darkness of the forest behind.


Dawn has barely arrived, the sky only beginning to brighten along the horizon and leaving most of the sky and the forests below in darkness and shadows. A wide clearing has been selected as a rendezvous point between guards, both from Hold and Weyr and Fortian riders. Already it's teeming with activity in the pre-dawn light as guards and riders alike begin to sort and stack supplies and turn the clearing into a makeshift and very bare-bones camp. As far away from the activity as possible, several dragons lay crouched, none seeming too relaxed as the atmosphere over the clearing is tense at best. Most of the riders present are from Thunderbird, while a few others are volunteers, chosen because of their skills and knowledge of the deeper parts of the forests. Th'ero stands to the side with Fort's guard captain Breshir and first lieutenant Yarisa, as well as Wingleader Nishka and likely a few others the Weyrleader felt necessary to discuss a few last minute details with. The bronzerider is frowning heavily in thought, though his true emotions are hard to detect as he keeps his features set. One sign of his growing nervousness may be the way he keeps resting his hand over the pommel of the sword he has buckled to his side. Aside from that, his attention seems solely focused on the task at hand, as he listens and as work continues on around him in the final stages of preparation.

Kimmila is crouched beneath a pine tree, her back resting against the bark as she works at sharpening her dagger. A calming, soothing task, though her eyes keep glancing up towards the leadership before they flick to her blue, and then back down to the blade once more. Varmiroth shifts, nervously digging his talons into the ground. By the time this is over, he'll probably have a fair-sized hole dug.

A'lin knows the forest like the back of his hand! Or something. He hasn't been out with the hunters in a while, but he still treks out into the forest daily generally for his exercises. He feels better running amongst the trees, even if it might be a little dangerous out there these days. He has volunteered his skills, likely at someone's request, and stands around with Th'ero's advisors. Ada has his bow slung on his back and his arrows with him, as well as his knife. If he had to choose a weapon Ada would probably get a big hammer or something, but he seems content with what he's got right now. Ada can give advice about the lay of the land, but battle plans aren't really his area of expertise.

Lay of the land seems to be exactly what the "leaders" of this group are seeking, as a map is suddenly drawn and unrolled, held as flat as possible between two people. It's likely that the positions and trails to be used are given one final quick glance over, which the details Th'ero confirms with A'lin. "So long as we stick to these trails here, we should be able to effectively seal off their escape and pen them in?" he'll ask, turning his head slightly to give the brownrider a side-long glance. Battle savvy or not, it seems he just wants to be certain they'll be all heading in the right direction. Satisified that no one is going to go wandering off and blundering into the dark unknown, the Weyrleader steps back. Giving a nod to those present, it signals the start. Captain Breshir begins to bark out orders, but it's Yarisa who turns away to begin to organize the guards into three large groups. Nishka bobs her head politely and then gestures to her Wingsecond, L'da. He'll organize the riders and the volunteers, the bluerider being sure to signal to A'lin and Kimmila at some point as the camp suddenly mobilizes into something akin to organized chaos. It would seem the wingriders are being assigned with the guards, though will still be remaining well back. Th'ero is left then with Breshir and Nishka, brown eyes watching as the ranks of guards and riders organize themselves.

Kimmila wipes her blade clean and puts it back into the sheath, pushing to her feet and walking forward to her post by Th'ero. The bluerider pulls her bow from her back and sets her quiver at her waist, ready to climb a tree and keep a lookout from a (hopefully!) safe distance. Glancing at the Weyrleader, she gives him a nod and a faint smile, waiting tensely for their order to move out as the guards move first.
A'lin points to an area along the map. "Well, there is thick brush all through here. They could go that way, but it would be quicker to head for the trails. So we can set up an ambush along it. Though I don't know what they've done to the land out here. This is our best chance, though," A'lin affirms. As he's given his assignment he heads off to group up with the rest of the guards in his group. "I hope we don't have to kill anyone.."

Ambush is the plan and that becomes clear once everyone begins to move into position. The guards and riders have been split up into three groups. Two will be heading in opposite directions, as the camp they're about to storm down on backs on to terrain that would be nigh on impossible to escape through. Cutting off their means of escape from the sides, the third group will be lead in. And at the front will be the representative holder chosen to speak for the Holds, along with one brave journeyman Harper. Th'ero and Nishka will there as well, along with Breshir for security reasons, though the Weyrleader may also be there to speak on the Weyr's behalf. And like with all three groups, even the main one will have wingriders and more guards lingering in the back and near the trees in case things get messy. "We're dealing with Holdless, not renegades," L'da says towards A'lin as he passes by the brownrider, the Wingsecond trying his best to sound reassuring though he looks as tense and anxious as the others. "No one wants blood." The sky is lightening now and the call to move out rings across the clearing. The two side flanking groups go first in opposite directions, the guards moving a head some distance before the wingriders follow on foot. Weapons are drawn and readied as one after the other they all vanish amongst the trees. The third group goes in last and Th'ero follows, silent and grim as he casts one last look at the makeshift camp and likely to where Velokraeth rests uneasily with the other dragons left behind.

Kimmila goes with the third group as instructed, walking along near the back and eying the trees. Flexing her fingers in her thin gloves, she walks until the small group approaches the camp. The approach is narrow, a game path more than anything worn thin between tightly packed pine trees. Smoke can be smelled more than seen, as campfires are kept low to minimize detection. As they turn the last bend in the trail, the campsite is visible before them. It's reminiscent of the site that Kimmila and Th'ero found near the river. Several low buildings built from felled trees and covered with boughs, it'd be nearly impossible to see from the air. Exits from the camp are several, but are no doubt being covered by the other two groups. Clumps of granite boulders make this a camp that is hard to get into - but also hard to get out of. Trees surround the camp as well, pressing close and providing more shelter. As the group approaches, Kimmila hops up onto a boulder and vanishes up a tree, climbing nimbly into the lower branches of a budding maple. At that moment, a cry goes up from the (dozing) sentry, posted in another tree, and he drops to the ground and bolts for the largest building. In other places around the camp, men rise from cookfires with startled looks, drawing blades and glancing towards the building, waiting for orders. There is no attack - yet - but they are very wary. Others fall out of other low buildings, until a few moments later the leader, Laris, strides out of the largest building and strides towards the group, flanked by two men with drawn swords. Laris is short and built like a barrel of ale, his sword belt buckled low around his waist. "Who goes there!" he demands, eying the approaching group.

"Sometimes even the most docile creature can turn vicious if you back it into a corner," A'lin says quietly. Not to mention that -someone- killed all those people, right? A'lin pulls his bow off his back, though he won't knock an arrow until it's time. Really his usefulness is probably mostly over now anyways, he's just another big body to help scare the holdless out into the open. The brownrider ducks in with one of the two flanking groups, disappearing with them into the woods to wait for the signal to move in.

"Too true," L'da murmurs, frowning and it would seem the Wingsecond is with A'lin's group of guards and riders as well. The bluerider's weapon of choice is also a bow, though how effective he is at it remains unknown. It could be all for show, after all. As the first groups of guards approach, many take hidden positions, while others step out partially into view. It makes for a tricky way to determine exact numbers. L'da chooses to take position by a rather large and thick tree, perfect as a makeshift shield. Confusion is exactly what they had hoped on and as no attack comes raging forth, some of the tension eases off among the ranks, though all remain just as alert and wary of the holdless group. As Laris calls out, the main group with the representatives' steps out into the open and stop once they're on the edge of firing range of any possible archers among Laris' group. "We're here on the behalf of all the Lord Holders within Fort's region to talk, concerning the crimes committed at Stonehaven cothold." A voice rings out, not entirely steady and obviously from the man slated to be the Holder's representative. "We are here to bring those responsible for the massacre to justice. Peacefully." He steps forwards a little and Th'ero and Breshir flank his sides, both their hands on their respective weapons but not drawn. Nishka remains a few paces behind with the Harper and all watch Laris and his men attentively. All it will take is one signal from any of them and this will end either in a retreat or worse.

Kimmila stays in her tree, bow ready and arrow notched, drawn and aiming right for Laris' heart. She has to close her eyes briefly and take a deep breath though, to ease the trembling of her muscles as nerves briefly take over. Down below, Laris glances around the camp with shadowed eyes, and then they focus on the Holder. The Holdless leader stares at him and then laughs, putting a hand on his stomach as he does so. The sound echoes across the stones and a few of his men laugh too, but it's an uneasy, forced sound. Laris turns his head and spits into the dirt. "Don't know nothin' about no stone's haven," he replies, eying the group. "Anythin' else we can help you folks with?" A few of his men shift, easing their weapons out and trying to be unobtrusive about it. A few sneak up to the boulders, the men trying to move to get into better position should something start. But at the moment, Laris looks calm as he spits again and scratches an itch on his neck.

Any weapon is better than no weapon, but a bow is probably the worst weapon to choose if you don't know how to use it. At least with a sword anyone could swing it around and stick people with the pointy end. A'lin hunkers down behind a bush, but he's so big it's hard for him to hide. So he falls into the more 'half-hiding' group. Ada at least grabs an arrow to prep himself. There's a wrinkling of the brownrider's nose at this Laris guy. But the big man stays put and quiet. Were they expecting them to turn over the people responsible? Well, of course not. Otherwise they wouldn't have the camp surrounded.

The holder representative is left sputtering and gaping as Laris just laughs and so do his men. As the dumbfounded man falters, Th'ero has to supress a frustrated noise as he takes over now, fixing Laris with a narrowed glare. "Enough of the games," The Weyrleader says, raising his voice enough to carry to all. "One of yours turned sides and told us all, Laris. Locations too. We know of the other camp, but we," And by 'we', it sounds like he means only the Weyr. "Figured to talk first. You're completely surrounded and vastly outnumbered. Have your men lower their weapons and we can talk. It doesn't have to end in blood." Th'ero's hand never leaves his sword's pommel and neither do his eyes move from Laris. All around them, as the stand off drags on, the guards and wingriders hold position, weapons held at the ready. As some of the holdless men approach the forests, a few shift uneasily but no one cracks. Back among the trees, L'da snorts at Laris' response and mutters under his breath, likely only to be heard by A'lin and perhaps a few others nearby. "Cocky, isn't he?" And then he's reaching for an arrow too and notching it, keeping it at the ready. Looks like the Wingsecond does know how to use his bow.

Kimmila shifts on her branch, the leaves swaying briefly as she readjusts herself. She squints down into the clearing and then her eyes travel around, trying to pick out where everyone else is located. Down below, Laris' expression hardens and he fastens his blue eyes on Th'ero. "That so?" he says, turning his head to spit a third time. When he does that, an arrow flies. It's unclear who loosed it, or even from what side it came, since it thuds harmlessly into a tree. But an arrow does fly, and the men in the camp erupt in response. They spin and turn, dashing at the Fortians with loud yells and swears, charging into battle with weapons drawn and already slashing. In the center of the courtyard Laris and his two men have their swords out and spring forward, aiming for the small envoy of Holder and Harper, Guard and Weyrleader. Laris, though, moves right for Th'ero with a snarl. In her tree, Kimmila stifles a gasp and lets her first arrow go in surprise. However, she was aiming at the clearing which no longer has a clear line between friend and foe. In the last instant before the arrow leaves her bow, she jerks and sends it sailing well clear of the rising battle. Swearing, she draws another one from her quiver, notches and pulls it back, squinting and looking for a clear shot.

A'lin shrugs a bit. "Well… maybe he's assumed that uh.. what's his name as defected and he's got no options. Or maybe he thinks we're bluffing. Or maybe he's hoping we shoot first…" Which… could possibly be the case. Ada notches his own arrow as he hears one loose and thud into a nearby tree. And then the chaos starts! Well, Ada isn't going to just sit back and let them be slaughtered. He moves to a spot where he can get a clear shot, though it's hard as the guards and others move in to face the holdless. He lets off a couple of arrows in Laris' direction, aiming for arms or legs mostly. Not trying to kill anyone, at least not outright. But things are happening fast, so his arrows might end up sticking in a few more serious places.

If Th'ero had any response to Laris, he never gets the chance to voice it. As the arrow is loosed, the Weyrleader starts as it thuds into a tree. Then chaos erupts. Grabbing the shocked holder representative literally by the back of his tunic, Th'ero all but throws him back to where Nishka is already urging the Harper to run for it. The Wingleader is then off with the two of them and falling back to where the other wingriders remain among the tree line and relative safety. Breshir draws his sword and goes to leap forwards to intercept Laris reaching Th'ero, but one of Laris' men cut him off. With a snarled curse, the Captain is forced back as he defends himself. Th'ero has barely enough time to draw his sword and swing it up to deflect Laris' swing, grunting as he braces himself against a man that is likely twice his weight. "Laris, you fool! Call of your men!" he yells to be heard over the din of voices and fighting. If he's successful in pushing Laris back, he'll begin to circle the holdless man, wary and likely seething in anger beneath his apparent calm. From his position in the forests, L'da nods briskly to A'lin, smirking. "Could be. Seems like he cares very little of what is said. He's dangerous…" L'da never gets to finish, swearing loudly and then raising his bow to fire off an arrow as fast as his skill will allow. It grazes a random holdless man, but slows that one's progress enough that the guards can subdue him. In fact, most of the fighting seems left to the guards. Most of the Wingriders are backing down or not engaging in the fight unless absolutely necessary and completely in defense. Their task seems to be to rescue the wounded, friend OR foe. This is primarily a Hold matter, after all and the riders have their dragons to think of. But a few do fight and in the end it doesn't matter what one's rank is. It's all about survival now.

Kimmila stays perched in her tree, her arrow notched and drawn as she looks for a clear shot. Eyes narrow as she watches Th'ero and Laris go at it, and the bluerider's breath hitches. Hands trembling, she clenches her jaw and watches, unable to tear her gaze away for the moment. In the clearing, Varmiroth shifts, lifting his muzzle and roaring his displeasure, rising to all fours and spreading his wings with an audible snap. He remains on the ground, however, especially when Wiyaneth appears from between. Landing heavily, the gold hisses at the dragons, extending her mental powers over them to keep them grounded. She will not *let* them engage, or go between if their rider gets injured. Elara slides from her neck and stumbles towards the few who remained back at the camp, barking her own orders. Back at the holdless camp, Laris puts a lot of force behind his swings, darting away from Th'ero with surprising agility for one of his bulk. His blows are strong and heavy handed, hardly well crafted or artful. Made to bludgeon and maim, he presses forward towards the Weyrleader with an angry snarl and a dangerous and wild glint to his eyes. This is a man pushed too far for too long, and seen too much to back down now.

A'lin is happy to let the guards do the fighting. He'll help tie up the surrendering or help the injured, but with Laris locked in close combat with Th'ero it's too risky to send more arrows that way. He does manage to clothesline a holdless trying to charge one of the guards, and wrestles a man down who faked a surrender and then tries to gut some of the riders. A'lin is tempted to rush in to try and put more pressure on Laris, but without any real sword skill he'd likely just end up getting sliced open. Hopefully Th'ero can manage himself.

Varmiroth is not the only one roaring displeasure as Velokraeth also rises to his stunted limbs, snarling and wings half extended as he tries to keep a more level head then some of his flightier kin. So when Wiyaneth appears and hisses at them, the pale bronze backs down but is far from calm, leaving it to the gold to keep the peace. Elara won't be alone for long. The Holder and Harper are among the first to arrive, along with Nishka and some of the wingriders, a few minorly injured guards among them. All this transpires as Th'ero faces down Laris. It's immediately evident that the Weyrleader is outmatched and it's only his speed that's saving his skin. He stops trying to deflect the larger man's blows and instead just avoids him, swinging his sword defensively only if no other choice remains. Meeting Laris's blows takes too much of Th'ero strength and so the dance begins. But he doesn't back down, circling the dangerous holdless man and aiming to try and wear Laris down enough to make his move. The Weyrleader's expression twists and his eyes never leave his opponent, watching his every move warily. Around them, the guards are making short work of Laris' men. Many are injured and some do end up being killed, but such is the downfall of a fight and some do escape. As A'lin takes out a few more holdless, wingriders finish up in subduing those men and dragging them off. It's likely the brownrider gets quite a few quick mutters of thanks or appreciative looks from rider and guards alike. L'da is one of them, the Wingsecond still shadowing close by to A'lin. "Sharding mess," the bluerider curses again, before giving one holdless man a smart clip upside the head with the edge of his bow when his struggles almost earn him a chance to run.

Suddenly, one of the Holdless breaks away from the fight and bolts through the trees right beneath Kimmila. Twisting around, the bluerider puts her back to the battle as she draws a bead on the fleeing man and has a clear shot… It's an easy shot. It's one she could make over and over again without any fault. But she hesitates. Shooting an animal is one thing. Shooting another human being is another thing entirely, and she hesitates. But just as she's about to drop her bow and turn back towards the fight, her world explodes into nothing but pain as an arrow loosed from a holdless perched on the rocks pierces her back, between her shoulder blade and her spine, on her right side. Her body jerks and with an agonized shriek she drops her bow and quiver, arms trying to grab onto the tree branch to steady herself. It's an instinctive response but it's ineffective as she falls from the tree to land on the ground with a dull *thud* and another strangled cry of pain. In the clearing, Varmiroth rears and spreads his wings, howling his shared agony as his body twists and rolls, fighting Wiyaneth's iron grip as he tries to get to his rider. Elara's face goes ashen, and the older Weyrwoman nearly falls but is caught by a nearby Guard.

A'lin is certainly not amused at all the craziness and the bloodshed. Some of the people were going to need rider evacuation as soon as everything had settled and everyone was properly subdued. There's a blink as Njordeth is letting him know about some craziness that's going down in the clearing where the dragons are laying low. There was a rider hurt? He can hear lots of screams. Maybe Th'ero had taken a hit? That would not be good. Against his better judgment, A'lin picks up one of the swords that's been abandoned by someone from the ground. The biggest, heaviest thing he can, really. Then he charges at Laris. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" He's hoping to at least force the man to parry away his blows. They won't be well-formed, but A'lin is strong so they're hard.

Velokraeth does his part in trying to keep Varmiroth from doing something foolish, though the bronze is unsettled and agitated in turn and hurriedly dodging the flailing blue. The bronze is likely not the only one reacting, but no dragons go charging in. Nishka pales considerably and it takes a moment for the Wingleader to recover before she's ordering some of her returned riders to clear out. Others are ordered to bring in Healers and also take the Holder and Harper out. Less dragons means less for Wiyaneth to handle. L'da reacts with a surprise jolt as his blue fills him in and the Wingsecond turns to sprint to Kimmila's side. Crouching by her side, he calls for the wingriders he knows have some medical training (every wing has a few at least). "Don't move. Shells, don't move." He tells her, hands reaching out to pin her down should she try to ignore his advice. As another rider joins him to assess Kimmila's wound, L'da looks up in time to see A'lin grab the sword. It takes the Wingsecond just a moment too late to realize what the brownrider is about to do. "A'lin, don't!" he calls out, but can he even be heard? Th'ero continues to hold his ground against Laris, still aiming to tire the larger man as he dodges his heavy blows. Then the tables turn and when Kimmila shrieks and his mind is flooded with Velokraeth's alarm, the Weyrleader's attention shifts for the barest of seconds to where Kimmila has fallen. Snarling in rage, Th'ero's expression twists to one of fury as the bronzerider charges Laris despite the risks, letting emotions rule him as he swings with all the strength he has. There's little in the way of finesse as the Weyrleader aims to end it, then and there and totally unaware A'lin is charging down on them.

Laris raises his sword to block Th'ero's blow, and with a quick side-step he draws his sword back and sends it in again, catching the Weyrleader in the shoulder. Wrenching his sword free, he turns just in time to catch one of A'lin's blows, stumbling back. It looks like he's going to go down for a moment, but then the Holdless leader is dropping his sword and bolting for the trees, vanishing into the forest and underbrush where no one will find him. He's escaped! Beneath the tree, Kimmila's face is pale as blood seeps out from the wound in her back. Laying partly on her side, she retches from the pain and starts to say something but can't, and instead she just cries out again when L'da pins her down, a high pitched shriek as her expression twists.

Sorry, L'da. Even if A'lin hears he heeds no words. Even if he's realized now whose dragon is the one writhing around and where the rider is. A'lin sees Th'ero take a knock to the shoulder, and that's reason enough to break up the swordfight. He wasn't worth losing the weyrleader's head over! Though he isn't expecting him to just up and run, either. A'lin bolts after him, dropping the sword, which probably isn't the best of ideas. It's probably a lost cause, and Ada will come out all bruised and scrapped from fumbling through the bushes. "No! Come back here you murderer!" He shouts. As if it would make any difference.

L'da curses again as he notices the blood and the rider who's joined him has likely the same grim look to her face. "Looks like it lodged to her shoulder blade more then her spine. Bloody lucky. I'm sorry, but I have to pull it out." Gesturing, the rider motions for L'da to give Kimmila something to bite down on. The Wingsecond does it, murmuring encouragement and apologies in a never ending stream while the other rider frees the arrow from the bluerider's back. While that unfolds, Th'ero goes one on one with Laris. The Weyrleader manages to hold his own well enough, but he's no match for a man that size. Rage also plays a factor and he becomes reckless with his swings and gives Laris the opening he needs. The Holdless' man sword hits it's target, catching Th'ero deep right where the chest meets the shoulder and stopping the bronzerider right in his tracks. In the clearing, Velokraeth rears and bellows, wings flaring and teeth snapping at open air in frustration and shared rage and pain. The bronze will test Wiyaneth's hold too, likely hissing and snarling towards the older gold, talons digging and tearing at the ground. Let him /go/. Roaring in pain, Th'ero's sword drops as his right arm spasms and he's driven down to one knee. As Laris' pulls his sword free, the Weyrleader is completely defenseless as he stares up at the man with a look of pure, pure hatred. But then A'lin reaches them just in the nick of time and Th'ero hastily scrabbles backwards, but not before awkwardly reaching for his sword with his off hand. Then Laris is bolting and Th'ero can only curse his name and yell across the camp. "Coward!" A'lin is the brave one though to charge after the Holdless man and a few Guards take up the brownrider's example and try to help, even if it's a lost cause. The Weyrleader can only shakily pull himself to his feet, sword held awkwardly and bleeding from his right shoulder.

Nope, Laris will not be found. He's fled, along with some of his men into the forest. Beneath the tree, Kimmila has set up a string of loud curses, protesting the removal of the arrow until they actually do pull it free. It's then that she passes out, face going pale as blood begins to pour from the wound with the arrow's removal. She slumps against the ground, unconscious from pain and shock. Varmiroth cries out and thrashes, wings beating at the air though his paws never leave the ground. The gold maintains her firm grip on Velokraeth as well, her mind iron bands that will *not* be ignored or fought against. She is immovable in her control of the dragons in the clearing, as her tail lashes and her eyes spin red.

A'lin manages to get Th'ero out of there in the nick of time! Hooray! Unfortunately is his haste to save the weyrleader he's left Laris open an opportunity for escape. But the brownrider would likely choose the same path again. They could always search for him later, but if Th'ero had gotten an arm or a head lopped off… The big man comes stumbling back some time later, his clothes all torn up from running through the brambles in the way he though Laris went. Barring some scratches and the fact that he's out of breath though, A'lin isn't any more worse for the wear. He'll even help carry some of the wounded back to the clearing for dragon evac. A long hot soak in the baths would go nice, but with all the injured about it'll be a while before A'lin sees to that.

Velokraeth reluctantly submits, though his whirling eyes, flashing red and yellow, remain fixed on Wiyaneth as the bronze settles into an uneasy crouch, pale hide taking on a slightly ashen hue. Back at the holdless camp, when it becomes apparent that Laris has escaped, Th'ero curses and sticks his sword into the ground and leans heavily on it. His right arm he keeps tucked up against his body, though it does little to stop the bleeding wound. When a few guards and riders try to approach him to help the Weyrleader's temper flares and he angrily brushes them off, ordering them to other tasks in a brisk and harsh tone. Under the flush of exhaustion, his skin has paled from shock and pain, but aside from some unsteadiness, Th'ero seems capable of standing. A'lin's return, scratched but unharmed, brings a brief look of relief from the Weyrleader. He'll likely have some words for the brownrider later, but he leaves A'lin to tend to the wounded and to his duties.

L'da can only wince as Kimmila passes out and Varmiroth's reaction is passed through to him by Enoth. The other rider likewise looks unsettled, but she's soon bandaging the wound with what looks suspiciously like strips of cloth from a tunic. Got to make due with what you have, after all. "Passed out. Probably kind that she did. Would have drugged her if we had the time…" she mutters. "She can be moved now. We'll have to make a makeshift sled or litter." The rider sighs then, shaking her head. The Wingsecond only grunts his affirmative to that and quickly has some lingering guards set to it. Likely they'll raid whatever meager supplies are in the camp for what they need too. With the fighting done and more of Laris' men captured, the task is done just as the sun rises to herald a morning that is garishly bright and clear considering the events.

Kimmila doesn't stay passed out for long, as Varmiroth's panic hauls her back from blissful unconsciousness. Shifting, the bluerider cries out weakly again, green eyes hazy with pain. "Mom," she calls first, but then she's blinking and her eyes are clearing slightly. "Th'ero!" she tries, holding herself very still on the ground. It hurts to breathe, it hurts to /exist/, but she twists her head where she lays on her stomach on the makeshift litter, looking for him.

L'da looks relieved when Kimmila comes to, while the other rider fusses over the litter and how the bluerider has been placed. The Wingsecond leans down a little when the bluerider calls for her mother, saying nothing and instead murmuring some encouraging words. Then she's calling for Th'ero and he's suddenly there. The Weyrleader had pulled his sword free and awkwardly sheathed it again before he half turned, half stumbled towards where Kimmila lay. But even before he can get to her side, L'da is standing. "Sir, please, you need to get that tended to." And when Th'ero simply glares at the Wingsecond, the bluerider only holds his ground. "Th'ero, for Faranth's sakes, you'll collapse from blood loss!" he says in a lowered voice, but the Weyrleader is stubborn at the best of times and ten times as worse when fueled by lingering rage and adrenaline. "Later," Th'ero grunts and with a frustrated toss of his hands, L'da backs off enough so the bronzerider can approach Kimmila. But the bluerider will hover and wait. Carefully, Th'ero kneels where she can see him easily and instantly reaches out to touch her face in such a tender way that the other rider still tending her glances away. "Don't give in, Kimmila." he murmurs to her, rage switching for concern and perhaps even fear.

Kimmila looks relieved when Th'ero moves into her field of vision, the haze of pain etched onto her features and filling her eyes. "Wingmate," she whispers, before she closes her eyes for a moment as another wave of pain washes over her at the other rider's tending. Green eyes open again and her hand shifts, but with a wince she keeps it where it is. "Velo needs to calm Var down," she whispers, wincing as it hurts to speak, hurts to breathe. Then her eyes clear for a moment and she can focus on him, looking blankly at his shoulder. "You need to get that tended," she says, her voice hardening with a bit of stubborn anger, before she winces and gasps, closing her eyes again. She says nothing about not giving in, whimpering softly.

"Wingmate." Th'ero whispers back and then growls some half formed curse when the other rider's tending causes Kimmila distress. She says nothing though and only goes about her work before finally stepping back. "You have five minutes. Then we're moving." Who's ordering who? The Weyrleader only nods his head, too drained in more way then one to bother challenging the rider. "Velokraeth is in no shape to calm Varmiroth. Wiyaneth is there. She'll calm them both." But regardless, Th'ero is trying to sooth his bronze, but two stubborn minds are likely to clash. The pale bronze does calm enough, perhaps, to lend some strength and calm to the blue. It will be several minutes though before that passes. Kimmila's mention to his shoulder wound only has him grimacing. "Later," he tells her. "We have to get you cared for first. I'll be alright." Until he passes out, that is. Th'ero leans forwards when she whimpers, his fingers still gently caressing her face, concern etching his features. "It'll be okay, Kimmila. Just hold on. For us or at least Varmiroth."

Kimmila smiles faintly, a soft laugh coming from her lips before she winces and gasps again, ending in a hiss. "You know nothing, Th'ero," she whispers, letting the remarks about the dragons pass, as Wiyaneth is finally managing to get Varmiroth calmed somewhat. "Get your…shoulder looked at. Before I kick your ass," she whispers weakly between pauses for pained breaths, breathing hitching as she has to quiet to push the agony away. Her vision unfocuses and she gives a violent shiver, crying out again and ending in a whispered string of curses. "M'cold…"

Th'ero smiles vaguely at Kimmila's jabs, her humor likely reassuring him briefly. "Later," he remains stubborn until the end. Truthfully, the wound's bleeding has slowed as he's kept his right arm held tight to his body. His blood soaked tunic just makes it seem worse then it is, honest! Concern begins to edge into panic when the bluerider suddenly shivers and cries out again. That brings the other rider over. "We have to go." She waves L'da over, who takes one hold of the litter and she the other. Two more riders pick up the back. The Weyrleader glances back to the camp, but things are in good hands. Captain Breshir is taking over and the Fortian guard looks battered and bruised but no worse for wear. It takes Th'ero a few tries to get to his feet, which has L'da giving him a concerned look that earns him a scowl. Steadying himself, he sticks to Kimmila's side even as the team begins to move her, careful not to jostle her too much. Ignoring them, Th'ero continues to murmur encouragement, but not in a sweet way. It's likely riddled with curses and other taunts to the bluerider. "Don't give in, Kimmila. You're stronger then this." And it goes on like that as the riders bare Kimmila through the forests. At one point though, the Weyrleader begins to lag and falter, sweating now and breathing heavily despite hardly moving faster then a walk. When he stumbles for the fifth or sixth time, L'da finally sighs and has another replace him. "Faranth, I told you so." The Wingsecond grumbles, ignoring Th'ero's gesture of protest even as he uses a tree to prop himself up. L'da may be smaller then the Weyrleader, but he manages to pull the weakened bronzerider towards him enough to brace most of his weight. Grunting and then hissing in pain as his shoulder is jostled, the wound begins to ooze again but Th'ero relents, letting L'da support him as they catch up to Kimmila's litter.

Kimmila frowns at Th'ero, stubbornness and anger flashing in her eyes at his refusal. But she's in no position to argue or make him do anything, so she just glares at him. Her eyes sink closed when they begin to move her, and though they don't open again she keeps breathing short, shallow breaths. The occasional moan is punctuated with returned curses for the bronzerider, focusing on his jabs to keep herself from sinking back into unconsciousness. As much as she wants to, it scares her more than she can say knowing that if she did, she might never wake up again. So she keeps at it, crying out when she needs to and swearing at Th'ero when she can. When he's suddenly gone though, her eyes open in a brief panic, looking around and finding him leaning on L'da. "Fuck you!" she suddenly calls to him, despite the pain. "If you fucking die on me god dammit I'll castrate you in your sleep!" It kind of makes sense, through her haze of agony and worry. "Fuuuuuck," she groans, "Just give me some fucking numbweed already!" The pain is starting to get to her, and it's becoming harder and harder to keep a grip on her sanity.

Despite their efforts not too, some of the rider's carrying the litter begin to chuckle, though it's likely from the release of tension and stress. Th'ero only smiles weakly when Kimmila swears at him and threatens him. "I'd like to see you try," he challenges her, which only has L'da giving them both looks as if they've lost their minds. The Weyrleader falls silent then, focusing the last of his strength to just stay conscious. So it's the Wingsecond who answers Kimmila's pleas. "They've got Healer's waiting on us. You'll get it. And likely enough fellis to knock you out clear into tomorrow." That gets a groan from Th'ero, his lips curling slightly in distaste. Finally they reach the clearing and true to L'da's words, the moment Kimmila's litter is in sight, Healers zone in on her. Tents have been set up and hastily to judge by their positions. But a large one has been set as close to where Varmiroth and Velokraeth have likely chosen to settle. It's there that they begin to direct the bluerider's litter, with Th'ero following behind thanks to L'da's help.

Kimmila just swears once more and then she drifts into an unnerving silence. A silence that is only broken by breathing and soft moans, her eyes fluttering closed. Varmiroth's tail lashes and he hisses, but he's held back from rushing at his lifemate, despite all his desire to.

Varmiroth isn't the only one who's being held back. Th'ero is being kept away too, despite his snarled protests as Kimmila goes silent. In his weakened state, the Weyrleader becomes confused, thinking her silence means bad when really it only means she's been drugged. "Sir, listen to me. They gave her fellis! She's just unconscious again, so they can stitch her!" It's L'da again, struggling to keep Th'ero steady and from tearing after the bluerider as her litter is brought into the tent. Blinking, he turns his head to regard L'da with a muddled look and then promptly passes out, which has Velokraeth snarling and thrashing in protest, talons tearing and tail lashing and a few of his more colorful remarks loud enough to extend to some of the rider's close by. The Wingsecond curses his fate as he barely manages to keep Th'ero from hitting the ground as two riders rush over and help drag the unconscious bronzerider to the same tent Kimmila was brought to. They know better then to separate them, it seems.


'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.