Unsettling Discoveries

Fort Weyr - Fort Region - Coastal Wilderness

Forests cover the rolling hills, thinning at times to open into vast swaths of open meadows and fields that seem to stretch on endlessly before being reclaimed and swallowed by the towering trees. The region here is wild and untamed, nestled as it is between the two coastal holds of Fort Sea Hold and Hold Gar and the mountain ranges are far away in the distance. There is not much to see, from above in the skies or below on foot, save for an endless sea of trees, grass and the occasional rocky outcropping. Only the toughest of travellers would venture out this far and there seems to be no sign of human habitation, unless one looks very, very closely. Perhaps the edge of one of the forests is not all that it seems and if one has enough time or curiosity to investigate, they may find far more than they bargained for in this 'back country' of Fort's region.


Summer is upon Fort Weyr in full force now and yet this particular morning starts chill and damp and foggy. The dawn sun is still too weak to chase the fog away for now, but it does not keep a few of the more seasoned sweepriders (and perhaps some of the more daring) to go out on their rounds. Slowly the Weyr begins to stir to life, though many are just beginning to rouse from sleep when one of those pre-dawn sweepriders returns and with a swiftness belying urgency. For urgent is their news and once the blue has relayed his rider's words to those who need to hear them, there is a sudden ripple of excitement. It's a tense excitement though, charged and rapidly turning to a nervous anticipation as dragon speaks to dragon and parts of the message are leaked before silenced and hushed. Something has been found! Something of importance!

Important enough that Nishka and L'da, Wingleader and Wingsecond respectfully of Thunderbird are seen hastily striding towards the council rooms, with the sweeprider hurrying along in tow. Next comes the Weyrleader, taking the stairs down from his ledge at an almost reckless pace and likely not alone as he slips inside. Whatever the meeting is and discussed, it is brief but the result is swiftly known and shared for a Weyr-wide call goes out for Thunderbird to prepare to mobilize and messengers sent to rouse the Guards and summon the Captain and his officers. A call goes out as well for all Wingriders able and available to volunteer to report to the council room. There is a search to begin! Camps have been found and the Weyr is swiftly acting to investigate.

Inside the council room, Th'ero stands at the farthest edge of the long table, bent over an unrolled map and head lowered in tense discussion with Nishka and others. Already several marks have been scrawled on that map in red and black. The Weyrleader is frowning heavily, his lips drawn back in a grim line but his mood is thoughtful and brooding. "I say we split up the groups," he murmurs in a voice that can easily be overheard for those arriving midway through. "If it is by the coast, Faranth knows how many are there and how spaced or hidden. Pooling all to one spot seems ineffective…"

Kimmila was already up and on her own morning sweeps, but Varmiroth responds to the call (Velokraeth's or anothers?) readily enough. As the meeting begins the Wingrider strides into the council chambers, no longer even bothering to notice if anyone objects to her presence. Few do, these days. Pulling off her helmet and gloves, she sets both aside before unfastening her heavy jacket and letting it hang open over her tunic beneath, walking to stand near the map, peering down at it thoughtfully. "He's never kept everyone in the same spot," she offers quietly. "There will be more than one camp." Of that she is certain.

Weyr needs come before craft needs, at least in D'ani's mind. And so when that call goes out for wingriders, D'ani is heading from the barns at a run, leaving his half-done breeding charts to be finished later. Dremkoth meets him in the bowl, lifts him to his ledge where D'ani changes to flight leathers, crams his feet into polished boots rather than the ones stained with beast midden, gathers a few necessary items, takes the time to lash those to the bronze's harness within easy reach and then swings astride to head back to the bowl. He's one of the last to arrive, crowding in near the entrance with goggles, helmet and gloves hanging from one hand, easily able to see over the heads of some from where he leans against the wall, straining to catch what he can of the meeting.

Abigail got the word to report to the council room from Niumdreoth, she was already in her flight leathers and only had to stop by her ledge to get a few things before joining up with the others. Niumdreoth has a few things attached to his harness and the brown is waiting for word on where they may be off too. Abbey is near the back of the group as well, a slight glance is sent towards D'ani when she catches sight of him, and she offers a slight smile and nods to him before her attention goes back to the ones in front of them as she listens for bits of the conversation.

Th'ero is not dressed in his flight gear — yet. His jacket has been hastily slung over a nearby chair and there is a glimpse of his helmet and goggles beneath. The Weyrleader will be joining, but for now his mind is focused on key matters: namely getting the Weyr mobilized and dispatched. All will fall neatly into place in time. No objection comes to Kimmila's approach, many already in attendance quite familiar with the bluerider. Th'ero glances sidelong as she comes to stand next to him and at her input he smirks. "Which is why we will be forming groups. Nishka, I trust you can divy up your Wingriders as needed?" The brownriding Wingleader nods her head crisply, murmuring a low agreement, which is echoed by her Second. "Good. I'll need you to take at least two groups here and here," And he taps a finger to two red-marked spots on that map. "Captain Breshir is on his way. Begin organizing and I will send him and his officers to you once he is caught up."

With Thunderbird's Wingleader and Wingsecond dismissed, Th'ero glances sidelong to Kimmila again and hastily whispers something to her, while his gaze scans the council room. Spotting D'ani near the back and Abigail joining him, he gestures to them to approach — or was it meant for the Guard Captain and his officers? They enter too, just as the Weyrleader makes the signal but Th'ero's gaze seems to linger on both bronze and brown Wingrider. You two as well! "So it would seem we have some suspicious activity," he says, his voice firm and steady as he cuts straight to the chase while folk shuffle their way forwards. "Camps — or what appears to be camps. The sweeprider did not investigate too closely before coming to report." Th'ero reaches out to tap the map again, tracing his finger along the coastline between Fort Sea Hold and Hold Gar. "There is one confirmed location, which is where I intend to investigate first. Wingleader Nishka is organizing the rest of her Wingriders to cover the other directions. Those of you here, are you in agreement to follow and join in on this search?"

Kimmila listens quietly, peering intently at the maps as if she could divine Laris' location by simple force of will and hatred. When Thunderbird's leadership move off, she shifts closer to Th'ero in time to catch his hasty whisper. To which she nods, murmuring back in reply. Glancing up, she smiles wryly as D'ani and Abigail approach, and then her gaze turns more critical as she sizes up the guards present, too, though she gives Breshir a slight nod at his own approach. "Of course," she answers the Weyrleader aloud, looking at the map again.

D'ani's brown eyes are a mixture of gravity, excitement and a steely determination at this development and he is intent on what is being said in low tones over by the table, nevertheless he notes Abigail's arrival with a brief smile of his own in return. Flattening himself against the wall, as Nishka and her wingsecond ease past to get going on their tasks, he expects the arriving Breshir to head right on in and so he is hesitant to step forward, moving only after a sidlong glance sent to Abigail and a lift of brows, gesturing her with a polite inclination of his head, ladies first! He approaches the table, pauses to snap off a smart salute to Th'ero and then Kimmila right after before listening intently while eyeing the map. To the question he says, "Aye, whatever you need." But then adds his opinion quietly but firmly, "Rayathess ought to be in on this if it's Laris, Sir."

Abigail catches that look from Th'ero, a glance is sent towards the guards and she figures that he means for them to get waved on through. Though there is that look that makes a faint ah escape her and she is soon following /next/ to D'ani on up towards the table. She isn't about to go wandering on up there first thank you! A salute is offered to Th'ero, Kimmila and the rest before she sends a glance towards the map looking over it quietly while she listens. At the question from Th'ero and nods is seen. "Aye, I'm in for it." At the bit of Rayathess being in on it she ponders before nodding, she'll agree with that.

Breshir nods back to Kimmila, though the Guard Captain is grimly silent as he steps in close to Th'ero's side to murmur a few low words to the Weyrleader. The bronzerider straightens then, no longer as bent over those maps as he turns to face the older man. "Yes, I am aware of that." he replies, loud enough to be overheard. "But we have no choice. It may spread us a bit thin, but better to cast wide then too short. If you've no objections, I informed Wingleader Nishka that you and your Officers would be meeting with her to begin organizing the groups. The rest of us will join you soon." Dismissed, the Guard Captain salutes and then briskly turns on his heel, though not without a lingering and somewhat curious look for those who remain behind. Kimmila's agreement brings a vague smile to Th'ero's lips but is fleeting and short lived. He nods politely to D'ani and Abigail's salute, sparing no time for formalities. "Good!" he says, glancing between the two with a look that almost borders on approval. As Rayathess' name is brought up, Th'ero glances sharply to Kimmila before pinning D'ani with a long, lingering look. The idea is considered, but he shakes his head. "Not yet. It's not that I do not trust Rayathess, but we have no idea what we are facing. I am not about to put him into the thick of things. However," he hesitates for a moment to gather his thoughts and with a heavy exhale he continues. "If these camps are legit, then perhaps we will seek Rayathess' insight." The look he gives D'ani and Abigail goes without saying: /that/ he leaves to them or any others they deem needed. Smirking, Th'ero gestures back to the map and taps it again, almost impatient. "So we are set then? You three will be with me and whoever else Nishkia and Breshir allot us. Simple task: we go in and investigate. No heroics."

Kimmila just nods in reply to the salutes, her hands on the table as she peers at the map. Glancing up and around, she watches the others before she listens to Th'ero, and then she snorts, lips twisted in wry amusement. "No heroics, got it, Th'ero?" she teases with a slightly dark humor. Then she leans over to mutter something to him before she straightens and steps back from the table. "I'm ready."

The tough ex-guard is never going to allow him to treat her as a lady, is she? It's with a little shake of his head and a long-suffering roll of brown eyes that D'ani falls in beside Abigail, aiming a teasing nudge at her with his elbow. The glance he flickers between Breshir and the Weyrleader is alert, curious but he accepts that there are things he won't be privy to, focusing on what Th'ero says to them next. His gaze meets the man's without wavering for the duration of that long look he's given, law firming at the answer but he dips his head in acquiescence. Well, Rayathess is hold heir, so putting him in danger perhaps isn't the best idea, but no one has more motivation to see the renegade captured than he does in D'ani's mind, save for perhaps Ezra. He nods sharply to indicate that, yes, he is ready and yes, he'll avoid doing something rash, though his somber agreement is tempered by a stifled laugh at Kimmila's irreverent teasing of the man.

Abigail isn't no, because well she was a guard, how many 'ladies' are guards anyway? At the slight nuding she smirks a bit, pale gaze flicking towards the bronzer and seeming a bit amused over it but doesn't comment. At the talk of Rayathess not coming along yet she nods, well perhaps that is a good idea for now, at least. She doesn't voice any thought on it though. Her gaze rests on the map once more at the bit on heroics is brought up, her pale gaze drifting towards Weyrleader and Kimmila before she nods. "Right." Or something like that. A the teasing bit from Kimmila she can't help but to grin.

"Oh, I've had my fill of heroics," Th'ero drawls back to Kimmila as he shoots her a long look for her dark humor. "And I will say the same for you too, Kimmila." Perhaps D'ani and Abigail may want to reconsider joining the Weyrleader and Wingrider! Given both their history with finding trouble (or trouble finding them) and injuries… who know show "routine" a search may be. Tilting his head, he frowns to the words Kimmila mutters and then turns to answer her before focusing back on the others. D'ani's stifled laughter earns the bronzerider another shrewd look from Th'ero before the Weyrleader clears his throat. "You are both to head to the northern bowl then. Wingleader Nishkia and Captain Breshir have the groups assembled and our team awaits by the stairs. Kimmila and I will join you both in a moment. Be sure you are well supplied and equipped." Read: armed. "Velokraeth will give the coordinates. Wait on my signal."

Straightening again, Th'ero begins to fold the map and gather a few more papers before he's reaching for his flight jacket. A knowing look is passed to Kimmila and then he nods briskly to D'ani and Abigail before hurrying out through the council chamber doors and back up to his weyr and ledge, where Velokraeth is poised, alert and restless. The Weyrleader will not be gone for long before he appears again, dressed in his full riding gear as he goes about getting the straps buckled and set on his lifemate's pale hide. Supplies are also strapped in and last but not least Th'ero makes sure that he has his sword and dagger buckled securely to his hips. Mounting up, Velokraeth shifts on the ledge, gathering himself with wings half spread to prepare to take to the skies though Th'ero has yet to give the command. In the bowl below, two more Wingriders will join D'ani and Abigail, as well as the blueriding sweeprider. Paired with them are a small group of guards, one for each of the riders.

Kimmila smirks at Th'ero and rolls her eyes a bit, giving him a little clout on the shoulder. How…sentimental. "Sounds good," she agrees, nodding at them before she goes to gather her own things and - predictably - follows Th'ero up to his weyr after murmuring one last thing to him. Varmiroth is also ready in short order, perched on the edge of Velokraeth's ledge. Wings fan the air, keeping his precarious balance and his eyes whirl quickly in anticipation and excitement. "Ready whenever you are, wingmate," Kimmila calls over to Th'ero as she pulls down her goggles and checks her supplies one more time.

D'ani can't help it; Abigail isn't a guy, she's a young woman. Manners and his past upbringing inhibit him from treating her rudely, no matter how much he respects her ability to handle herself in combat; it's not an insult, but a compliment that he still sees her as one. He coughs when that shrewd look is directed at him by the Weyrleader. "Yes Sir," he says and snaps off another salute when dismissed, turning smartly on his heel to head that way. Aaaand if he lags a half-step behind Abigail? That's totally by accident, right? If he thinks anything about the interplay between the Weyrleader and Kimmila, he wisely keeps it to himself. Out in the bowl, Dremkoth meets D'ani with a 'hurry it up' nudge. Straps get checked, his sword is already in a scabbard beside his saddlepad, along with a few other things. He mounts and while he waits, helmet is donned, goggles are pulled down, hands stuffed into gloves, all the while his attention remains on the ledge from which that signal is to come while underneath him the bronze shifts, unable to keep still.

Abigail isn't reconsidering anything at the moment, she was a guard after all they know danger is all around one way or another. "Yes sir." This said with a salute once they are told to meet up at the Northern Bowl and the ones there. Is for one not use to such things from guys, more so because she doesn't' tend to think about it more than anything else. There is that lagging steps from D'ani which causes her to send him a curiously glance, and yes perhaps a soft smile is picked up. She'll get it one of these days, she really will. Niumdreoth is there warbling out once she makes her way outside, as it was she already has her things packed, and really does this surprise anyone giving who this is? Her bow is pulled free from its place once she is sitting within her dragon's straps, her quiver also rests about her shoulder as she is ready to use it if needs be. The brown shifts on his paws while waiting for the rest to join, while his rider goes about getting gloves and other flight gear ready.

Th'ero will not keep them waiting long, turning his head first to Kimmila as she calls over to him and he nods, reaching up to pull his goggles down and then urge Velokraeth to the edge of the ledge. While D'ani and Abigail prepare and mount up, so do the two other Wingriders and the guards with them. Suddenly the early morning air is filled with the sound of wing beats as the groups lead by Nishka and L'da take to the skies first and once high enough they disappear Between. A few weyrfolk have wandered out now to peer curiously, gossip likely already forming and liable to spread like fire before breakfast is even served from the kitchen. « We are to go now. Fly high and go here. » Velokraeth's mellow and honeyed tone, full of the comforting warmth one would expect to find in the safety of home and hearth, reaches out to Varmiroth, Dremkoth, Niumdreoth and the others and strong is the link he forges. The image he shares spares no lack of detail: far below rolls the endless green hills, thickly forested and yet dulled with an air of sombre mystery by the heavy fog. The coastline is but a suggestion, but it remains far enough to their side to not be a concern. Once all confirm they understand where they must go, Th'ero lifts his hand and then lets it fall in the signal to fly. With a rousing call, Velokraeth springs aloft and takes the lead, carrying his awkward bulk as swiftly as he can up high above the Weyr and then vanishes Between. When they emerge over the coastal wilderness, the pale bronze holds position high above while they gain formation again. « Don't know how we're expected to see anything in this thick fog! » Velokraeth can be heard muttering aloud for all dragons to overhear. « We veer northward. If that IS north. We are to lower down. Carefully. »

Varmiroth wings up after the bronze, the sleek and small blue easily keeping pace with the bulkier bronze. He accepts the link easily, grasping the other dragon's mind with ease of long practice, the nightscape of his mind extending to the others as well, though a bit less naturally. There is effort in forging those links, though subtle. He vanishes and then emerges again, by Velokraeth's right wingtip, the blue rumbling his pleasure at being out and about and on a mission. « Carefully, » he agrees, craning his neck down to peer into the fog.

Dremkoth sees the signal a beat before D'ani does, the young bronze already crouched, lifts his wings and springs aloft while the words, 'Let's go!" are barely formed in his rider's mind. Reaching altitude after the lighter, quicker dragons and finds his place in formation behind and to the right of Th'ero and Kimmila. It's the scent of fresh cut grass, heavy with dew and the twinkle of fireflies at dusk that replies to Velokreath, « I see it. There is where I shall go. » And the smaller bronze winks out, reappearing in place while both peer down at the fog-shrouded land and Dremkoth's comment, equally shrouded, though in twilight rather than fog, « If we cannot see them, they cannot see us! We can sneak better this way. »

Niumdreoth lifts his head as he catches sight of the others taking to the air, he waits for the 'ok' to be given before jumps upwards and with a few powerful flaps of his wing is heading skywards rather quickly to catch up it would seem. The link is taken without a problem from Velokreath and he shares it with his rider so they both know where they are to be going « Yes yes, we go. » Is offered back, a clear wintery forest night with bright blue and green colors mark the sky of his mind. Abigail lifts her head, gaze looking out over all the ones that are here before they are given the information on where they are going. Should prove interesting to say the least. With the images given, and the others following the brown goes between and emerges above the coastal area with the others. Niumdreoth comes up to settle in a spot off to the left of Th'ero and Kimmila, his swirling gaze sent towards the ground. « Works both ways for sure. »

« Wisely spoken! » Velokraeth muses in response to Dremkoth, his mind rippling with mirth and yet his tone carries a seriousness and honesty behind it. « And not without truth. » he adds to Niumdreoth's remark. « Follow now and try not to make too much noise. If we are not off our mark from this accursed fog, we should be sweeping in right on top of this supposed camp. » It's hard to say then how much of the pale bronze's words are his own or the echoes of his rider. Th'ero shifts uneasily in the saddle, leaning a bit to strain and see any landmark below and then swivels to check on the position of everyone else. All is as it needs to be and the Weyrleader faces forwards again, his grim expression hidden behind the collar of his riding jacket. « Cautious now. We are to land but be ready. » No need to explain WHY or for what. Swiveling his wings, Velokraeth suddenly banks to a hovering stop before carefully swooping down the last few feet to land. Barely has the pale bronze settled that Th'ero is dismounting, his lifemate already backing off to be all but swallowed by the swirling fog. Drawing his sword, the Weyrleader will wait on the others and through the fog one can glimpse the looming dark of the forest's edge ahead. They have landed very close… and yet nothing seems to be stirring. Yet!

Varmiroth lands in the fog nimbly beside his bronze ledgemate, keeping his wings spread and gently fanning the air as if he could push away the cloaking swirls of fog. Slipping from the straps, Kimmila loosens her dagger and holds her bow, an arrow notched and string held tightly, ready to draw at a moment's notice. She slips up beside Th'ero, eyes squinting into the mist. "Damn this weather," she mutters softly. Varmiroth shifts, a little uneasy. « I hope this is not like last time, » he says, ripples of red-laced pain shifting through his mind, plucked from his rider's memories of the last time they approached a Laris camp. The blue is uneasy.

« Agreed! » sweeps through the night from Dremkoth about the need for silence and his promise to keep it and then the dark bronze folds his wings and dives behind Velokraeth and Varmiroth, plummeting through the cloud cover and leaving twin whorls of the thick stuff swirling in his wake. His landing is harder than usual because he executes it with a minimum for backwinging, but it is quieter, if jarring. D'ani undoes his straps quickly, removes his sword from his saddle scabbard, sheathes it, takes the few other things he he's lashed there and swings down. Stepping up to join Th'ero, Kimmila and the guards that are with them, he peers into the fog, remaining silent but alert.

Niumdreoth follows the others down, landing a few steps behind Dremkoth once the call is given. A low unsure rumble escapes him before he is quiet and still, his swirling gaze drifting over the foggy area while his head lowers. Abigail pulls a few things from her pack, and with bow in hand once her straps are undone she is on the ground and catching up to the others. Her blow is gripped tightly with a hand and she hums faintly. "I do wish the fog would let up some." She murmurs out faintly.

« It will not be like the last time. For one, it is too quiet. » Velokraeth says to Varmiroth, though extends the mental link to the other dragons as well. The pale bronze has stepped back, but his body is tensed and he too fidgets uneasily, eyes whirling with hints of yellow and red where he stays with Varmiroth, Niumdreoth and Dremkoth. Th'ero stands with his sword drawn, alert and as tensed as his lifemate. Peering into the thick fog, he does not charge forwards but his head tilts slightly as though trying to listen as well as see. Nothing is gleaned though and he makes a low, frustrated sound. "It's poor luck. Very poor luck. Though it is early yet." he murmurs back to Kimmila and Abigail. Indeed, once the sun begins to rise higher the summer weather will heat up fast enough and the fog will melt away. Not fast enough though and the Weyrleader is not about to hesitate and wait on nature. As D'ani approaches, Th'ero turns his head just enough to give an acknowledging look to the bronzerider and then Abigail.

The forest edge still looms a few feet ahead, dark and cast in mysterious shadow by the thick dawn fog. It is quiet here and even the air feels chilled but the sky is steadily growing lighter: sign that the sun is indeed rising. Th'ero frowns heavily, considering and at last coming up with a plan. "You two and you as well," he murmurs in a hushed voice, signalling for the two Wingriders and half the Guards following them. "Fan out. Move slow, keep paired up if possible. Any sign that his camp is occupied, you fall back and report. Understood?" He then dismisses them, waiting until the last vanishes into the fog before he signals to D'ani, Abigail and Kimmila. "Keep a sharp eye. We'll be going in more or less from this direction." Whichever way that is. "Spread out, but remain visible to each other. I don't want one of us singled out." Read: lost and vulnerable. "Understood?" Th'ero will linger only long enough for confirmation, glancing from one rider to the next before signalling to move out. Turning, he strides forwards, his steps steady but cautious and the fog swirls around him, gradually dimming him to a vague and indistinct shadow.

Varmiroth settles somewhat, lowering himself and folding his wings, though he still looks agitated as his eyes reflect red and yellow hues against the shifting fog. Kimmila twists her grip on her bow, green eyes shifting to the others before they focus on Th'ero once more. Then she nods. "Understood," she says quietly, stepping forward when Th'ero does, taking the position to his right as they approach the trees.

And it would appear that Sergeant Yurolt has hitched a ride with Abigail. He too slips off Niumdreoth's back and moves towards the others. "What's this all about?" He calls out to those assembled, then spotting Th'ero he salutes and says, "Sir. What's the situation?" It's one of those rare occasions where Yurolt is ill informed and unawares.

D'ani flicks a glance at the other guards as they move out. Yurolt's questions draw a sharp glance and a slight frown for the worry of voices carrying, but he says nothing, instead giving a brief, nod acknowledging the Weyrleader's directive, quietly unsheathes his own sword as he steps away off to Th'ero's left. Being out of striking distance from each other in case they run into trouble would be a good thing, yes. His steps are carefully made, the tread measured to go as quietly as possible. Behind him Dremkoth crouches, whuffing a muted snort that sends the fog swirling.

Abigail nod slightly as she hears Th'ero talk about the weather, hopefully the fog will start to lift, which she is glad to see. Her head lifts while her gaze drifts over the area, looking for any signs of anything as the directions are given. Sends a glance over to Yurolt and makes a slight motion of her hand to try and get him to whisper, if that is possible at the moment. As for what is going on, a glance is sent over to Th'ero pondering if he'll fill the guard in it seems. Once the others move out she turns her attention back to Th'ero a nod is seen. "Aye." Is said with a understanding tone as she starts to approach the trees with the others, moving off to the side somewhat but not enough to be out of anyone's vision, and she makes sure to have the others within hers. Niumdreoth settles in a crouch, tail twitching slowly as his gaze follows after his rider, his head tilting while he works on listening to the area to try and catch anything.

How did Th'ero not realize that one of the Guards with their group was Sergeant Yurolt? The Weyrleader starts a bit when he hears the familiar voice call out, pausing a moment to allow the young Guard to approach while the fog continues to swirl about them. Holding up his hand, he signals to keep voices low. "You were not briefed?" he asks, frown growing ever heavier. Who's going to catch hell for that later? "Sweeprider found signs of a possible camp. Wingleader Nishka and Captain Breshir have gone on ahead to sweep the area around, while we investigate. Already I have Wingriders and Guards moving in. So far, it does not seem inhabited." he explains in a low and hushed voice to Yurolt before gesturing for the Sergeant to fall into position and follow. The Weyrleader seems impatient to move on and perhaps with good reason.

As they move closer, the forest slowly comes into view and details visible inch by miserable inch. The trees press in thick and the ground is choked with vegetation. All is eerily quiet though occasionally there is a muffled call of some avian or other wild native animal. Carefully, warily, once they're in Th'ero lifts his hand up again to signal with his hand: spread out, move forwards, investigate! No challenge comes, no holdless riff raff charging wildly, no alarms given or the sound of fleeing or panic. In fact, it seems like just a normal foggy forest. Yet something seems off about it the further they go in. Look close to how the plants grow, for there lies the key: camouflage. If it weren't for the fog, they'd see a vague glimpse of it from above. Nature molded by human hands. Clever, but not entirely foolproof. There are structures among the trees and shrubs and bushes, just waiting to be discovered for what they are.

Kimmila frowns at Yurolt's calling out, edging closer with her arrow pointed towards the ground. Then when they move out she keeps close to Th'ero's side - out of his sword's reach, but seemingly loathe to move too far away from their Weyrleader and her weyrmate. She squints at the molded vegetation and snorts softly. "Fairly well masked," she murmurs. "I'll need to buy that sweeprider an ale, this would be hard to see from the air."

Yurolt quickly lowers his voice. He hadn't thought he was that loud, but sound does often carry in a fog. The guard shakes his head to Th'ero's questioning and hushedly replies, "There was no time. I was checking our Weyr patrols and caught Abi on the way out." With that he nods and moves to his postion in the formation, hand on sword, ready to draw. The sergeant eyes the murky surroundings and his gaze follows up a tree to its high branches. He only nods as he overhears Kimmila.

D'ani pauses only long enough for the Weyrleader to brief Yurolt, standing at a distance to where he'd gone to put the required distance between them. As they move out, he keeps a sharp look ahead and to the side, his alert gaze seeking to penetrate the fog as he stealths onward. The dripping of moisture from the trees overhead falls on his head, trickling down his neck but he is heedless of the discomfort. His foot brushes one of the fake plants as he passes, the feel odd to his toe enough to catch his attention. He uses the tip of his sword to prod it, the thing thunks dully and he makes soundless snort of air through his nostrils, a mirthless laugh and shakes his head.

Abigail continues along, careful of where she steps, her pale gaze flicking over the brushes, trees and so forth and a soft hum escapes her while she pauses. She leans forward slightly with the tip of her arrow and parts a few of the leaves on one of the man molded bushes. "Twas made to camouflage." She murmurs out softly, the others near her most likely able to hear her. A glance is sent to Yurolt and she nods to the bit on him getting a ride with her, though she did think he was filled in before then. She'll own him an apology later.

"I'll second that," Th'ero mutters under his breath when at last he spies the craft work done, using the tip of his sword to lift the thatched and weaved plants up from what is clearly a beam of wood to some makeshift lean-to. The Weyrleader clicks his tongue then, exhaling in a mixture of frustration and grudging appreciation for the ingenuity of the camouflage. Most of it arrayed to keep the camp invisible from above but there are tricks to fool those on foot too. Smart, smart thinking. "No wonder we couldn't find their hideouts!" Th'ero almost growls in a hushed voice, turning to glance towards Kimmila and step closer to her side though his eyes soon travel to scan the ground below again. There is a nod to Yurolt, and then his eyes peer through the fog to place D'ani and Abigail. Satisfied, he goes back to his investigation. "Long since vacated, it looks like." Th'ero says, lifting his voice to a murmur. Indeed, no signs or tracks seem fresh if there are any to find but the ones they make themselves. Just as he turns again to consult Kimmila, something catches his eye and he creeps forwards to inspect it. He freezes suddenly and his breath exhales in an alarmed hiss and pointing towards the ground and then sweeping in a straight line. "Tripwire!" Hidden just like the camp as a whole, there it lays at ankle height and of material to blend almost invisible with the surroundings. But where does it lead to?

Back in the clearing, Velokraeth growls deep in his chest, echoing his riders alarm to the others. « Watch where you step. Watch everywhere. Who knows what variations of traps lie waiting. » the bronze intones, alarmed and uneasy. Oh, how he hates these trips to the forests. Wings rustle irritably and he swivels his head through the fog, trying to peer towards that forest. A forest that is now becoming gradually more visible. « At least the sun is finally ridding us of this accursed veil. » he grumbles.

Kimmila steps forward to peer at the shelter Th'ero is looking at, and then casting her gaze around the camp. "No kidding," she mutters, low and angry. She takes a step forward and then freezes when he names the trap, her foot almost about to trip that wire. With a muffled curse to Laris' nether-regions she follows the wire to its end. "Shards and shells," she breathes, "it's a crossbow." And she gives Th'ero a pointed look before she reaches up to nimbly and quickly disarm the bow, tossing it with disgust into the woods when it's harmless. More cursing follows.

Yurolt too freezes when tripwires are mentioned. Quickly he scans his footing to be sure he doesn't set something off. In an attempt to overstep what could be a trap the guard stumbles and places his hand on a tree to steady himself. He grins in embarrasment and suddenly curses. Pulling his hand away from the tree he starts to pluck needlethorns from his hand. It would appear that the sergeant has fallen victim to nature rather than humans.

D'ani halts at the comments coming from the pair to his right. Even though made very quietly, the astonishment and dismay in their tone is enough to gain his attention. The thinning fog allows him to see that disarming of that crossbow that Kimmila does. Greaaat! The place is booby-trapped. Extra wary now, he continues, stepping even more cautiously than when he'd been trying to sneak. Something rolls under his foot, he jumps back with a strangled grunt. THWOK! WHUMP! Something jerks, arcs in a trajectory that seems aimed at the trees, then swings back and forth, creaking about fifteen feet overhead. It's a large rough net. Empty only because D'ani jumps back in time! Who gets a Scooby snack, hmm?

Tripwires. Abigail catches that and also the warning from Niumdreoth which makes her pause, and she is lucky as there was one basically in front of her. She eyes it a few moments and lifts her head to try and find. She lets her bow lower while following the line towards a tree to find where the line goes, though in doing so there is another wire that is missed at first. She catches herself before triggering it fully; a few low words escape her while her gaze flicks one way and then another while she works on finding where it leads. This trip line leads to another which is holding back a long slender log against a tree; it has several rather pointy metal spikes sticking out from it that are covered with branches and leaves. "Great.." Is hissed out faintly once she catches the glint of metal. Niumdreoth shifts upwards onto his paws, a thought of worry running through his mind once he catches sight of what his rider is seeing.

Th'ero's expression is difficult to read beyond the anger and alarm that has twisted it into a scowl. Kimmila's cursing earns a snort, but any mirth is cut short when she follows the wire and confirms his worries. No pointed look needed, the Weyrleader now looks grim and even disturbed as his eyes lock on that hidden weapon, his hand lifting to trace the imaginary path… Barely does he restrain a shudder and now it's his turn to curse out loud. "Don't set off the traps! Bastards made sure to make even their abandoned camps deadly. If you can, disarm them. If you cannot, mark them and move clear." he says, his voice carrying firm over the chill air. Velokraeth passes word via the dragons, briefing those far afield now while Th'ero stays close to Kimmila's side, pausing only to point out another wire out. The curses from Yurolt have the Weyrleader turning to give him a lingering look, only to grimace and flinch. "You alright?" he asks the Sergeant, about to ask more when the sound of a sprung trap echoes through the air. Crouching in a defensive but ready position, Th'ero spies the rough — but empty — net and exhales heavily in relief. Looks like two get a Scooby snack so far? "That trap nulled now, D'ani?" he calls to the bronzerider, which can be taken as a 'you alright and whole?' as well. Eyes then scan for sight of Abigail and spying the brownrider where she stands, Th'ero frowns. "Abigail?" he calls out, while signaling for D'ani and Yurolt to move in, should they prove to be closer. The camp is not overly large — at least not this section of it — and it would seem that most of the traps are on the outskirts. True to the Weyrleader's previous statement though, the camp IS deserted. Thankfully they will not have to deal with that too!

Kimmila's expression is easy to read. She's /pissed/, and the long string of rather imaginative curses that the bluerider mutters under her breath only adds fuel to that fire. "Everyone okay?" she asks, eyes peering through the fog in each direction as people respond. Moving back to Th'ero's side, she keeps her eyes on the ground now as she moves towards one of the mounds, presumably some sort of living quarters. It's large enough at least. But she is very, very careful as she moves forward.

Yurolt plucks the last needle out his hand and gives the all clear to Th'ero. "Fine sir, wait a tick…" His voice fades off as he peers into the lightening fog. Carefully he moves forward a few more paces and pushes aside some actuall fronds and reveals a well beaten path. "Trail here…Heads out west." Before anyone can tell him otherwise he's off down the path and is quickly lost in the fog and foilage.

D'ani's not pissed, but he is somber as he eyes that net overhead. "Yes Sir," he calls over his shoulder, keeping his feet still for the moment as his eyes travel over the ground, seeking anything he might inadvertently step into before he steps back and looks towards the Weyrleader in time to see him beckoning. He makes his way over cautiously, the movement of Yurolt catching his eye just as the guard disappears behind the brush. "Wait! Don't go-" he sighs and closes his eyes, sighs. Then mutters lowly in disgust as their guard wanders off. "Someone needs a little refresher in the importance of backup. I'd… better go make sure he doesn't get is ass in trouble." And off he goes to haul the guard back by his ear. Okay, now he's pissed.

"I'm fine, this trap is still live though." Abigail offers back with a low tone. "It's a nasty one." Her gaze flicks to see where the others are and she looks to the ground to make sure there are no more wires around her. "Everyone stay back for the moment." Why? Because she is going to need to move quickly here in a moment that's why. After she makes sure no one is around she is moving, turning and jumping back the way she came where she knows there is no triplines. Seems she didn't push against the one tripline enough as the log stays in place. "Bloody hell" There is several other choice words said now as well.

Th'ero does not chime in on Kimmila's call, as the bluerider can see for herself that he is fine. Physically, at least. Mentally is another kettle entirely. The Weyrleader keeps a sharp eye out for any more suspicious wires or oddities, though as the bluerider moves towards one of the mounds he is edging slowly along behind her as back up. "Any idea of what this camp may have been?" he asks in a low tone, lips pressed in a tight and grim line. Looking back to Yurolt, Th'ero nods and then starts when the Sergeant finds the path. "Good eye!" he begins to say, only to grunt. "Wait— Shard it all!" Cursing, he does not take after the Guard. Later he will have words with Yurolt for his impulsiveness, if the Captain doesn't get to him first. Or a pissed of D'ani! Th'ero looks ready to protest the bronzerider taking off too but realizes it may be for the best! At least that way Dremkoth can relay information. The Weyrleader has other pressing matters, namely Abigail's current situation now. "How bad?" he calls, alarmed and his temper beginning to uncoil from his rigid control on it. Sharding traps! "Do you need us?" he asks next when the brownrider curses and nothing seems to trip or move.

With everyone occupied, it's understandable that no one may sense the feeling that they are being watched by a wary pair of eyes lurking in the shadows and the remnants of the fog. More of it is melting away now though, details of the layout of the camp now visible where they were once hidden. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the arrangement, though it is clustered together tightly. Cramped, one might venture to say. Cramped and offering plenty of cover for someone to lurk.

Kimmila gently prods the edge of a covering with the tip of her arrow, shaking her head. "Supply camp?" she suggests. "Or a living quarters? It's hard to tell. But with all the traps, perhaps it was supplies and weapons. Seems like a lot of work to go to if there were people living here all the time - or more than a few," she mutters. Frowning deeply when others move off, she tries to lift up the edge of the covering to look at the shelter beneath, not noticing or sensing that pair of eyes. But Varmiroth does, the empathetic blue picking up on something. He shifts, tail twitching. « Something is there, » he says suddenly, which has Kimmila freezing. "Freeze," she hisses.

"No I got it. Just need to try and disarm it." Abigail says while a soft sigh escapes her. Her arrow is tucked back into the quiver, bow on her shoulder while she pulls out a dagger and cuts a good amount of vine down and goes about typing that log into place upon the tree so it won't snap forward and hurt someone if the wire is tripped. With the log tied down to the tree and snaps the write with the use of her arrow so she isn't close just in case it goes wrong. "It's taken care of." This said while her gaze lifts upwards. Lurking.. There is that feeling as if she was being watched, that was the nagging feeling in the back of her mind. She then hears Kimmilla. With an arrow knocked ready to be used as she moves forward slowly to catch up with Th'ero and Kimmila.

Th'ero makes a low noise, his scowl now turning more thoughtful than fueled by his temper. "I would venture to agree that it was a supply camp. Think of the location. Between two minor Holds and coastal too. Brazen, if you think about it." The Weyrleader is likely already cursing their lack of foresight, of even thinking on combing these woods thoroughly. "Good. Well done, Abigail." Th'ero's comments are genuine as he's relieved that the brownrider is unharmed and the trap now harmless too. He inhales slowly, ready to issue more commands with Kimmila's hissed warning has him doing just as she says: freezing. Anger flashes in his eyes, but there is a rush of adrenaline there too. Crouching, Th'ero raises his sword and drops into a defensive but ready position, eyes narrowing but sharply alert for any movement.

Those eyes vanish, but there is the sound of muffled movement and the rustle of leaves. Something doesn't seem quite right though and soon it is revealed why. No armed thugs come charging, no riff raff or suspicious person. What comes warily out of the dense foilage is: a canine. A very big one, but worse for wear. The poor beast has seen harsh times at the hands of its previous "owners" but being left here to fend for itself as left it thin, if not scrawny. There is still power there though and it's shaggy, wiry coat is bristling, hackles up and large brown eyes staring down the three riders uncertainly. Head lowered, it moves stiffly, not sure if it should flee or fight but one instinct remains: guard. As Th'ero lowers his sword, the canine flinches and begins to bark. Deep, loud and warning them to back off.

Kimmila's shoulders stay tense, but she makes a pleased noise at Abigail's success. "Good," she murmurs, and then swings around to stare at the approaching movement, arrow drawn and string taut. When the canine emerges she frowns, head tilting slightly, but she does not drop her bow. She keeps it trained on the barking creature, and though it'd pain her terribly, she would let that arrow fly should the beast make a move towards any of them. "So much for stealth."

Abigail is quiet as she watches, a brow lifting as the canine moves out from the shadows and she just watches it a few moments. She keeps that arrow of hers that was raised is soon lowered. "Wait." Is offered out to Kimmila, hoping the other doesn't shoot the canine. Yes this rider has a soft spot for them, even when there barking and growling at them it seems. She takes out a few strips of jerky from a pouch and breaks them into pieces tossing them towards the canine to see if that can get his attention. Looky, food. If that works she'll toss out more of the food just off to the side and away from the three riders.

Th'ero says nothing and takes a slow and careful step back to place himself more or less at Kimmila's side, if not behind her. His sword is useless and he is loathe to use it on the poor canine, but the Weyrleader is wise enough not to let his gaze wander from the animal and keeps his eyes trained on it even as he backs off. He is no expert with canines and is at a loss for a moment as what to do. "We need to quiet it." he mutters to Kimmila at her remark about stealth and there is a foreboding tone to his voice. Quiet seems so final. Abigail is stepping in though and when she asks for them to wait, Th'ero gives her a lingering look but nods, while his hand lifts in the signal to hold while the brownrider makes her attempt.

The canine's barking tapers off into uncertain spurts, though there is a flash of bared teeth at the movement of the three "intruders". Silence meets the tossing of the jerky, the canine shrinking back and growling. Hunger outweighs its fear though and slowly does the canine step forwards and stretch its neck out to where one large piece had fallen. A quick sniff and then it's inhaled greedily. The barking has stopped, but the canine keeps its eyes sharply focused on the trio of riders, hackles still up and posture still very much on the "don't come any closer" spectrum. The other pieces are sniffed out too with great pause and cautious movement — at first. When the last of it is eaten, it lifts its head and peers expectantly at none other than Abigail. YOU. Food?

Kimmila keeps her arrow notched and drawn but she doesn't let it fly. Yet. She will give Abigail a chance, but she's on guard. She doesn't do any more than that for the moment, eyes on the canine.

Standing on the edge of the forest is D'ani. How long he's been there unclear and he's minus one errant guard, probably the reason for his irritated frown. In his hands is a leather rope, one he's brought from home, loops shaken out, but unthrown as he watches the canine warily. If it springs they've at least another option to shooting it.

Abigail watches the canine quietly, another pieces of jerky is pulled from her pouch, pieces of broken off and tossed out for the canine. She moves to the side now away from Th'ero and Kimmila while tosses a few pieces out so the canine may move out of the way. One piece is held between her fingers to see if the ac canine may come close. "Once it moves I think ye can move past. I'll follow after." The ex-guard has a soft spot for canines so she is trying to give this one a chance to stay alive.

Th'ero stays close to Kimmila's side, making no comment as she keeps her arrow notched and her guard up. Likely he's of agreement for that safeguard, a last and final resort if need be. But the Weyrleader is eyeing that canine with a heavily thoughtful look and he mutters low, likely only overheard by the bluerider. "Think the poor wretch could be a clue?" Spying some movement, Th'ero looks up in time to see D'ani make his return and seeing that the bronzerider is sans the impulsive Sergeant, the Weyrleader smirks. Eyes then dart to that rope and an idea springs forwards. He gestures silently to D'ani, mimicking the loop and then pointing to the canine before miming slipping it over the animal's head. Or use it as a muzzle (or both). Doable? Abigail's comment earns her a nod and a low spoken warning. "Be careful. I'd not trust it, even if it does act tamed." Motioning to Kimmila, Th'ero begins to edge forwards again, away from the traps and further into the "center" of the camp. It truly is a small cluttered mess and more of it is visible from within and now that the fog is lifting.

The canine advances slowly towards Abigail, gobbling down the tossed offerings though it warily eyes the piece she holds. Hackles are raised, but not as visible as before and its posture remains stiff and tense. But it does edge forwards, clearly torn between hunger and instincts to flee. The trick works though, the animal's attention more or less hooked on the brownrider though it darts a look to Th'ero when the Weyrleader moves. Food wins though and the canine stands a few feet from Abigail, eyeing her.

Kimmila tilts her head slightly to show Th'ero she heard him. "A clue of what?" she murmurs under her breath. Her eyes flick briefly to the returning D'ani, and the bluerider looks a bit more relaxed. Beastcrafter on the premesis? She steps forward slowly, trusting Th'ero to watch the ground for traps as she keeps her eyes on the animal.

D'ani's attention is on the canine, but Th'ero's gestures catch his eye and he gives a bare nod, including Kimmila in the acknowledgement. Abigail likely can see him and he sends her a silent warning, his look saying: 'this is not going to be pretty'. As the canine focuses on the giver of jerky, he waits for just the right moment, then with a quick move, whips the rope overhead, tosses and lets out a sharp whistle at the same moment. He's aiming for where he believes the canine's head will be when it turns to see him, the loop hopefully will settle around the animal's neck. If successful, a deft jerk of his wrist will tighten the noose but there might be a struggle!

Abigail knows better than to let her guard down with a strange canine. A slight nod is sent to Th'ero while the piece of jerky in her fingers is dropped to the ground in front of her before another piece rests between her fingers. The rope that D'ani has is caught sight of before she lets her gaze turn back to the canine. She isn't sure if quick movements would be a good idea at the moment, a slight frown is seen but before she can say anything the rope is tossed, and the whistle is heard. "Hold on tight. He could take off." Or go crazy one of the two.

"Other locations of other camps. Canines aren't common, are they? Liable they don't have actual breeding stock of their own trailing along with them. That one there, though scrawny, looks to be of a hearty line. Stolen, perhaps and trained for their use?" Th'ero murmurs back to Kimmila in a hushed tone, though his questions are perhaps best kept for D'ani — when the bronzerider isn't occupied in capturing said canine. The Weyrleader does keep a sharp eye for anything unusual but finds nothing to alarm him. Just more of the hidden structures and some scarred and burned ground of past fire pits. Using the tip of his sword, he lightly scrapes the surface or begins to. The sharp whistle has him looking over again to Abigail and D'ani, just as the rope is tossed. It hits it's mark, as the canine does swing his head around, food-bribes forgotten and the brownrider is correct one one thing: it does go crazy. Once it feels the leather loop tightening, the canine lets loose with a yelping, snarling, howling-scream as though being murdered while thrashing in a maddened roll. If D'ani holds on and neither of them attempt to stop or touch the canine in its fit of panic, it'll eventually stop, laying on the ground on it's side with it's tail and limbs tucked as it semi-rolls to show it's belly while staring up at them with frightened eyes. Does anyone dare approach it now? If not, now what?

Kimmila doesn't answer Th'ero, as her full frowning focus is on the canine as it thrashes around. There is pity in her eyes, but she doesn't let loose the string to ease the creature's pain. She just frowns, and then her jaw tightens and she mutters a few more low curses for Laris and his men.

It's certainly not going to win him any points with the canine, unless it is used to handling, that's for sure! As the canine flails, D'ani pulls the rope until it is taut. The noose will slowly cut off the airway if the fight continues. When it doesn't, he moves in carefully, speaking soothingly to it. "I'm sorry," he says to it. And he is, but it's better than the alternative should the animal decide to spring at one of them. "Why'd they leave you behind, eh? Trained and everything, loyal too. You deserve better than that, hmm? Come on, we won't hurt you." He's keeping a quiet and steady murmur, though he doesn't really expect to win the animal's trust today. He's ready to finish the job and so keeps his eye on the canine while motioning Abigail with a head motion. "Take the rope here, please. I'm going to muzzle him." Hopefully without getting bitten.

Abigail has a feeling that would happen and she pulls out another bit of jerky as she watches the canine freak out and then go all limp. There is a pause while she watches, only move forward once the canine has stopped. A nod is seen while she moves forward taking hold of the rope. "Yer be fine, no one is going to hurt ye here." This said with a soft tone to the canine. As for someone taming him indeed most likely not today, though thought does cross her mind though and if given the chance maybe she can bring the canine back to the weyr to work on it. She keeps a hold of the rope, enough tension to show the canine that there is someone still holding the rope, but nothing overly so unless she needs to. "If'nn ye can come from behind he might be better." There is a pause. "Sure ye knew that though…" Well he is a beastcrafter.

Th'ero's attention has focused too on the others and the canine when it's cries echo rather loud and sharp through the otherwise quiet camp. The Weyrleader grimaces and perhaps there is pity in his eyes as well for that canine. As Kimmila curses low, he turns to her again and smirks and then gestures for her to resume a quick search. "Doesn't seem as though anything more is to be found here. Check over there," And he points to where another fire pit seems to have been dug. "Once they've got that canine subdued, we'll be done here." Does he mean to bring the poor thing back with them?

The canine remains still, though it's eyes now watch D'ani fearfully and warily but it seems to take some minimal comfort from the bronzerider's soothing and steady murmuring. Obviously it cannot answer those questions, but it does twitch its tucked tail in a vague wag. Still very much uncertain, but it does not fight the tether now or attempt to spring on either rider. There is no trust shared for sure and it would take time and patience, but as Abigail comes in to take control of the leather rope, the canine only utters a low growl and shifts to watching her and D'ani both, still curled miserably and shaking.

Kimmila lowers her bow but keeps the arrow notched, letting some slack into the string. She just grunts softly at Th'ero before walking over to the fire pit, crouching down to explore the ashes very, very carefully.

D'ani gives Abigail a quick, if grateful smile for both the advice and her taking the rope. Pulling on his gloves as he steps carefully closer, he then slips his belt off as he goes, forming the loops he'll need so that when he is there, he doesn't need to get too close, but drops the makeshift muzzle over the canine's head and twitches it snug, slipping the buckle over the back animal's head so that it can't shake it off. His touch is then gentle as he loops his end of the rope Abigail holds into a harness, loosens the noose and slips it off of the canine's neck so it can breathe. "If it won't come, I'll have to tie its feet and carry it," he warns, backing off and giving Abigail the chance to see if she can get it to follow her lead.

Abigail isn't going to leave the canine here that is for sure. There is no reason for it to stay and from the way it looks it can't survive on it's on. A smile is sent back to D'ani and she nods while watching the canine to check it's actions. If it looks like it might try to bite D'ani then she will tighten her hold on the rope and pull the head the other way, no biting anyone! She smiles once more, glad to see the rope urned into a harness of sorts, which would have been her idea on the matter. She shifts forward once the animal is muzzled and harnessed, her hand lowering to try and give it a soft touch to the shoulder. "It is alright, come with me, yer see. All the food ye could want, nice fire place to sleep next to as well." Is murmured out. The ones back at Fort Hold always did call her the crazy canine handler for a reason; she dealt with the troublesome dogs more then she can recall. She'll give the canine a moment before stepping forward, a very light tug felt to the harness to see if it will follow.

Th'ero gives Kimmila a long look when the bluerider merely grunts at him in reply, but says nothing — for now. At first he lingers, sheathing his sword now that he feels there is no longer an (immediate) need for it, but then he turns to briskly stride closer to D'ani and Abigail. Kimmila's searching may at first prove to be fruitless, but if she nudges or digs through those ashes careful enough and just a bit deeper, then something may be found. A corner of some shred of clue left behind but not intentionally. Clumsy work, for whoever was set with the task! Abigail's guess is correct, the canine would not be able to survive out here for long. For that reason, it does not put up much of a fight even as D'ani slips the makeshift muzzle on it, only going as far as to flatten it's ears and growl low and deep throated. It shakes it's head but the device remains in place and soon the animal just gives in. Scared, but obedient to a degree even then. Th'ero will approach D'ani and Abigail only when the canine is safely muzzled, keeping a few steps away from the pair. "Anything we can learn from the poor creature?" he asks, his gaze sliding from bronzerider to brownrider and longest on the cowering canine. At Abigail's touch it flinches and twitches away, but the canine does roll back onto it's legs and stands, but it's belly remains low to the ground. Carry on slow enough and the canine will follow, balking perhaps when they pass the lines of traps and it may start to thrash in protest but a firm hand will have it skittering along and then following, stiff and timid and ever untrusting and wary.

Kimmila continues to poke through the ashes, and she does indeed dig up a few shreds of hide that did not burn all the way. Gathering them, she makes her careful way back after the others, briefly glancing at the canine before she offers the hides to Th'ero. "Think we'll learn more from these than that miserable creature," she murmurs, not without pity.

D'ani has backed up a few steps to watch and avoid looming over the poor canine. He watches, letting out a breath of relief when the canine moves after her. When Th'ero speaks, he answers without hesitation, "Someone who knew how handled and trained the animal, Sir. And I don't think it's been mistreated, but rather neglected because it's afraid rather than hostile. He's submitting to our handling, if reluctantly so." His gaze moves past the Weyrleader to Kimmila when she speaks, interest in her find, but his only further comment is, "Could be the handler is dead and they couldn't be bothered with it." He too is compassionate, but perhaps knows the animal now has hope. "We might watch it's reaction to the dragons. If he's familiar with them…" He allows the words to trail off, the implication clear.

Abigail moves her hand back slightly, it stays low and soon moves to press back against the canine's shoulders as just a light touch. "Yer fine, they won't hurt ye." Her tone still a soft murmur. Hearing D'ani she nods, agreeing with what has been offered. "His trained, for sure. Been out here for a while though. Thing has no clue about hunting reason why it's in the shape at the moment." A glance is sent back towards the camp. "If there was others around they just didn't care of it, I imagine it felt the need to stick around here because it was the last place the people was." Hearing Kimmila she looks over to see what she may have found. She frowns slightly at what D'ani says and then looks down to the canine.

"Could it be that he was from a previous owner, where he was handled and trained?" Th'ero asks after having silently listened and mull over what D'ani shares with him. The Weyrleader exhales heavily then, reaching up to rub his fingers in a thoughtful but troubled way along his jawline. "Likely his handler is dead or gone with the rest of whoever was camped here." he agrees grimly, "Perhaps they felt it too much a burden and left it." he adds, casting Abigail a quick glance and nod, "Regardless, if the poor beast will allow itself to be transported, we can take it. No sense leaving it to die here." Th'ero's gaze narrows for a moment, peering intently at D'ani for the implication the bronzerider makes and the Weyrleader's lips take on a grim line. "Test it then. You and Abigail seem to have the knack for handling it. We're moving out soon." But there is, without a doubt, a hint of hope in his tone: that the canine will show great reluctance and fear when brought close to the dragons and not indifference. As Kimmila approaches, Th'ero glances at her curiously and then frowns heavily for the hides she offers him. Handling them carefully, he says little though his mood could be guessed easily enough. "Good find!" he tells her, shooting her a knowing look. "And I believe we are done here. For now. Velokraeth is relaying to the others. We'll keep Guards here. No reports yet from the other groups." Give it time.

Kimmila snorts softly, eying the canine and letting her gaze drift to the others in turn. "Hopefully," she mutters under her breath, eying the camp with much suspicion and distaste. With a nod to Th'ero, she follows along after.

From a previous owner. This thought hadn't occurred to D'ani and it could blow holes in his theory about the canine's exposure to dragons. But the bronzerider merely nods when Th'ero says to test it and he turns to Abigail and drawls, "After you?" Mind not that glimmer of teasing in his dark eyes when he gestures towards the way they've come for her to precede him. For sure the canine isn't going to want to follow him after he roped it, but it may provide incentive if he's in the rear. If only to scamper away from the 'approaching' young man.

Abigail nods to the talk of taking the canine along, which she is happy to hear is the plan! A glance is sent towards D'ani and she smirks a moment at the teasing glimmer, she SO caught that. "Of course." A soft whistle escapes her to gain the canines attention before she turns to start moving back towards where the dragons are. The rope is given a light tug in order to get the canine moving. "Come now, it'll be alright. Have more food for ye too." With one hand holding onto the rope there is a piece of jerky in the other which is lowered near the canine's head so he can sniff it. Perhaps he'll be hungry enough to follow the food.

The canine is indeed hungry enough to follow food, but having D'ani "approaching" from behind is insentive enough to keep the animal moving. He won't eat anything Abigail offers the farther they walk from the camp and it grows increasingly unsettled the closer they approach the clearing. More and more often the canine will put on the brakes, going stiff and rigid and testing the strength and hold of the leather tether before being convinced to plod along reluctantly. Enough of the fog has lifted that the dragons will be visible now and at the sight of them, the canine slinks low, tail tucked but does not go wild at their presence. It shows no immediate fondness for them either, though most of it's attention seems divided as it's eyes roll and shift from Abigail to D'ani.

Th'ero will lead on through the forests, keeping an alert watch on the surroundings though no more surprises come their way. The sun is up now, the morning well progressed and the air is growing rapidly warmer with the promise of a hot and hazy summer afternoon. "Do you think you can safely transport that canine dragon-back?" The Weyrleader asks D'ani and Abigail, lifting his voice to be heard as he veers his path to take him to a restless Velokraeth. The pale bronze has had enough of lurking and is itching to return back to the Weyr, rumbling irritably as his rider continues to linger. Catching up to Kimmila, he hands her the hides that she found, whispering something hastily to her ears before leaving her to tend to Varmiroth while he turns back to the bronzerider and brownrider and their unexpected charge.

Kimmila unnotches her arrow only once they're within sight of the dragons, Varmiroth spreading his wings and then tucking them back neatly when he sees the canine. Or Kimmila tells him to. Still, he is there ready to nuzzle his rider in subtle relief, and she rubs a hand along his muzzle, tilting her head to listen to Th'ero. Nodding, she steps up onto Varmiroth's forelegs and looks back to the others with the canine. "Good luck," she says quietly, before she's mounting up and buckling in.

D'ani eyes the canine's behavior as they walk with particular attention to its breathing. There's no need to panic the poor thing, who has probably seen enough stress in its weakened condition. He nods approvingly at the canine's reaction to the dragons. "It doesn't seem to be used to them, but at least the reaction isn't extreme." Dremkoth has been entertained watching all this through D'ani's eyes, so isn't as anxious to leave at Velokraeth is. He remains crouched where he is, but snorts quietly (for a dragon) as the canine cringes. "I think so, Sir. We can use that net from the sprung trap to secure him on Niumdreoth. The canine won't like it, but I don't know of another way, unless you do Abbey?"

Abigail continues the slow trek towards the clearing, she doesn't let the canine stop and every time it puts on the breaks she gives it a firm tug to get it moving once more. "Come now, keep going." This murmured out softly, jerky still there and wiggling. As for how to get it out of here on a dragon she ponders while looking towards Niumdreoth. "I have a few special harnesses for mine; I can strap and clip them in to Niumdreoth's straps. I don't know if it would work with him or not." Niumdreoth shifts, the large brown has lowered him to the ground more, with soft rumbles and croons escaping him. Much like his rider he happens to like canines, and with the few of 'his' back at the weyr his picked up some basic canine behavior, which seems rather funny on a dragon perhaps.

Onward the canine is coaxed and slowly he follows but never does it relax. While they pause to decide its fate and how to transport it to a new "home", it will huddle miserably a few paces behind Abigail, shaking but subdued. For now. When they do begin to strap it in, they'll be glad for that muzzle, as it will try to nip or yelp out of fear. Net or straps, once its secure the canine will just give in to its current lot, hating every minute of it but "behaving".

Th'ero's expression eases to one of subtle relief when D'ani reports on the canine's behavior. "So that may dispute one theory, at least." he murmurs and then glances back towards the forest's edge with a grimace. Nodding to the bronzerider's suggestion, he tilts his head then to listen to Abigail's suggestion as well before speaking up, "Whichever is safest for either of you. I leave the canine in your care for now, seeing as both of you are best to handle it. When you return to the Weyr, you may oversee to whom it goes to for care and then either return to your regular duties or have your lifemates bespeak Wingleader Nishka's Azath if you wish to report in to her and see if there is more you can do." Th'ero begins to move away then, lingering only to add, "I've some pressing matters to attend to." Those hides, perhaps? "And you both may be called upon later to report. For now though, stay safe!" And thank you. He does not say it, but it shows briefly in the glance he shares between D'ani and Abigail, before hastily saluting and then striding to where Velokraeth is standing, wings already half-way spread for flight. Hurry up. Mounting up, he buckles in and then signals to Kimmila as well before the pale bronze springs aloft and vanishes Between back to Fort Weyr.

"Both," decides D'ani firmly. As safely - and as quickly as possible to minimize the stress on the poor canine would be the best way, in his way of thinking. That net is retrieved, wrapped snugly about the canine tied so the animal is well-bundled and then D'ani lifts the odd bundle in his arms and carries him to Niumdreoth, murmuring soothingly to him. He remains to help Abigail secure it into those straps. "Looks like you've got another companion, Abigail," he teases with a lopsided smile. "Maybe Ezra and Zoi can help you with him, y'know, help him to adjust to the Weyr." Yeah, the canine will likely not warm up to him anytime soon, but he does offer, "If you need any help, you know I'll do what I can, too." And once the canine is strapped in, he mounts Dremkoth, buckles his own flight lines and the pair spring aloft, returning to the Weyr, where he remains to help her get the animal settled then reports to his usual duties.

Abigail nods as she hears Th'ero and then D'ani. As for the canine, well it doesn't get a say in the matter while she works on helping get it in one of her special harnesses and then in the net. Nips are felt but she doesn't even react, other than working on trying to keep him calm. Niumdreoth is still while the new canine is settled onto him and clipped into place, a low rumble escaping him. Abigail chuckles as she hears D'ani. "Yes well.. He'll be a challenge that is for sure. Not like my other ones that I have at the moment so I'll take what help I can get with him." She gives he canine's head a soft petting before nodding to D'ani. "Thanks D'ani. See ye back home." A quick check is set to make sure the canine is fine and buckled in before she is settling upon her spot, straps on. With the word given Niumdreoth is sent skywards, soon returning to the Weyr. As for the canine, Abigail will take him to the kennels for the night, staying most of it to try and get him more use to her, plenty of jerky to see if she can win him over with food.


'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.

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