An End at Last

Fort Weyr - Southern Continent - Drake's Lake

Surrounded on all sides by wilderness and high cliffs, rolling hills and distant mountains, this secluded lake is the picture of tranquil paradise. Fed by a narrow river from the sea, the water retains a beautiful clarity and rich color and the depth is deep despite being so far inland. Marring this lake is one large, lone island in a near triangular shape with two rounded edges sweeping to either side and one facing forwards where it breaks up into smaller pieces of barren rock. These rocks form an almost natural pathway, the only one, to the mainland. Not much of the island is level and the 'heart' of it rises high above the lake below. An excellent vantage point, for anyone wishing to brave the trek. Trees, tall and narrow and of a hardy species cover the island in a ring, along with a variety of thick and heavy tropical plant life, thinning and disappearing along the white sand beaches and the top which is mostly covered in rock.

From above and at a great distance, it looks quiet and uninhabited. Closer inspection reveals the truth however and there are signs of human habitation everywhere: some hidden, some out in the open with some camouflage put into effect to try and blend and hide. Wharfs have been built but they are ramshackle at best and hastily, if not poorly, made. Few structures are visible, but what little there is are linked by boardwalks and other scaffolding like structures. None seem skillfully built, all roughly hewn from what supplies could be had in this secluded and remote spot. One of these strange platforms looks out over the high peak of the island but no structure crests the top. It leaves one to wonder: are there tunnels then? Caves that the eye cannot see?


Pre-dawn saw the slow buildup of a summer storm over the Weyr and by the time dawn should have arrived, it was as though Fort was stuck in nightfall. The storm was short lived however, the rains swiftly unleashing most of their fury before moving on. Now the air hangs heavy and humid as the sun shines down and the Weyr begins to stir. While the storm was raging through, a quiet call went out to the Leadership, staff and a few others: namely the Guard Captain. Again, another meeting was held but unlike the ones of the night prior that ended in roundabout debating and arguing over the discovery of the camps, this meeting was as swift and short as the storm. Even before the council chamber doors are opened and those within are stepping outside, the Weyr suddenly erupts in news. Spread, of course, by dragons relaying and then from dragon to riders and so on. Thunderbird is mobilizing again, but not for another search as the call goes out for the Guards to join them. Captain Breshir is seen striding from the barracks, issuing orders to his men and women even as the first Wingriders begin to land. Supplies are being hastily gathered and packed, many folk now scurrying through the tunnels and bowls as the Weyr takes arms. The storm may be gone, but there is another tension building in the air. Could it really be true? Have they found Laris' stronghold at last?

From the council chambers, Th'ero is the last to emerge, with the Weyrwoman already off to see to her own duties and tasks. Velokraeth spreads his wings from his ledge above, neck craning as he rumbles, restless and eyes whirling rapidly as he surveys the bowls below. The Weyrleader has one hand resting on the hilt of his sword, but his head is turned back to the one next to him (and there is no surprise as to who it is) as he murmurs a few hasty words. Lifting his head again, he turns his grim expression towards the crowded bowls. "I've had Velokraeth call them." he says out loud, stepping closer to the stairs now leading down to the bowl below but it is clear he is growing impatient and restless. Which is the truth, as Velokraeth's mind will reach for a select few, one among them being Dremkoth. « You are both needed. Quickly now and do not tarry! Come prepared. » He figures he does not need to explain why.

Kimmila stops beside Th'ero, her hand resting on her dagger hilt as she surveys the activity in the bowl with a keen, grim gaze. "Good," she says quietly. "I think they're a good choice." Truly, there are few people in the weyr Kimmila trusts, and the ones that Velokraeth call are in that category. Congratulations, you get to hang out with Fort's brooding Weyrleader and his weyrmate? She's swift to follow Th'ero down the stairs, and from above Varmiroth tips off the ledge to glide down, finding a clear spot to land before the blue nimbly settles. "I'm glad he ate last night," she remarks, rubbing a hand over the dragon's muzzle.

That pre-dawn storm had awoken an exhausted D'ani from a much-needed sleep, the young man helping in the stone barn into the wee hours of the morning with a difficult delivery. The runner foal on its feet and suckling, he'd finally made his way to his weyr, negotiated the maze of dresser, rolled up carpet, jumble of glowlamps and end tables, stacked sheets and towels, only tripping once overt a box of still-unpacked clothes on the way the mattress that graces the rough stone floor of his dwelling. Once there, he'd sat, worked his feet out of his boots, removed his belt and then flopped on his back across the makeshift bed and fallen asleep still dressed. Disoriented from the crash of lightnening, he'd padded barefoot to Dremkoth's wallow and slouched against the bronze hide where the pair watching forked lightning streak across the sky until the storm spent itself, growing a retreat across the mountains.

It's a none-too gentle nudge from his lifemate's muzzle that rouses him to find the sun pouring into the weyr across the ledge. "Mmhph?" Disoriented, it takes D'ani's brain a full minute to register what his dragon is relaying to him and he staggers to his feet to walk out to the ledge still rumple-haired and peer owlishly at the activity in the bowl. This must be big, he knows and it can only be one thing. Explanations would be wasted on his muddled brain anyhow. He takes bare minutes - maybe three, to stuff his feet into his boots, harness Dremkoth (thank Faranth for all the Weyrling practice - he could do it blindfolded!), don his flight gear, strap on his sword, affix his lariat - and at the last moment include something he's used for herdbeast - to his saddle and swing aboard. Dremkoth drops off the ledge as he's clipping his flight tethers, ignoring D'ani's yip, plummets towards the ground below only to flare his mighty wings at the last moment and settle gently - for a bronze - onto a clear spot with a dull ka-WHUMP! « We're here, you may proceed now. » This is Dremkoth in his best yay-adventure mood.

Th'ero only makes a low sound of agreement to Kimmila's quietly spoken words and then he is moving swiftly down those stairs. Casting a quick glance up to the ledge where Velokraeth continues to perch, wings mantled and head held eye, he looks back to the bluerider and his weyrmate then. "Good! He will need the energy. We all will." he murmurs with a faint smile that could very well be extended to Varmiroth as well. Taking a steadying breath then, the Weyrleader squares his shoulders. Hopefully being in the Weyrleader's group leads to the same unfortunate luck as wearing a red shirt on a mission! Dremkoth is suddenly there with his rather abrupt arrival, but there is no time to make mention on it. Velokraeth did say to hurry, didn't he? The pale bronze gathers himself now, waiting for a clear spot to open up before springing aloft and making as swift and close a landing as possible. Sometimes it pays off to be a stunted runt for your color and he sticks it with minimal stumbling or skipping on awkward limbs. Folding his wings, he waits, tense and alert, for his rider to finish with the necessary details. Th'ero motions to Kimmila, signalling for her to mount up as he moves off to do the same. It's only once he's settled that Velokraeth moves to put himself between Dremkoth and Varmiroth, allowing others to approach as well. Easier to talk from this height than yell from below! "We're moving in on Laris' stronghold," Th'ero goes on to tell D'ani, not waiting on formalities of polite greeting or discussions. No 'how are you'. Straight cut duty and even more blunt and harsh truths. There's no time, no time! "Drake's Lake, in southern and on an island. We don't know all the details of the compound or how many are within it. Wingleader Nishka will be going in with a wave of Guards while we run a distraction and intimidation tactic. Velokraeth will share the coordinates. We fly in low, but not within range." There is a pointed look then that he shoots the bronzerider, one that is echoed to the others and Kimmila as well (though the bluerider likely knows all this). "We are to go in after the Guards." There is a lingering pause then as Th'ero tightens his flight straps and his gaze drifts to the gathering Wingriders further off in the bowl. Gazing sharply to D'ani and Kimmila then, he adds, "As for Laris himself, he is mine to deal with." No arguments on that, to judge by his tone and the grim and hard expression he wears. "Any questions?"

Speak fast, for there comes a call from the other bowls and there is the sound of rushing air as several dragons take wing in formation: the first Flight of Thunderbird Wing, most of them laden with Guards. They fly up high and higher still before the second wave follows. Then a third and they wait above for the others to join them. Voices can be heard, a few shouted commands and last minute orders but the dragons are relaying messages after message in a sort of organized chaos. Velokraeth rumbles again, talons clicking against the ground as he shifts impatiently, wings rustling as he fidgets. First things first though, the pale bronze shares those necessary coordinates, likely the same ones being passed to all as he links his mind with Varmiroth and Dremkoth both, as well as the others in their group. « Here is where we must go to face them! » Adventure? He's not quite so sure.

Kimmila mounts up swiftly and smoothly, double checking to make sure that she has all that she needs. Bow, arrows, dagger, sword…too much. Far too much but she can't bear to leave anything behind. She is quiet through the duration of the orders, her expression grim and grave. Varmiroth is more agitated, the small blue shifting his weight and unable to hide his nervousness. « Yes, » is all he says to Velokraeth, taking that location and holding it close.

D'ani salutes Th'ero as the man arrives, including Kimmila in it while a half-grin ghosts about his lips as he eyes the woman and her arsenal. Keep a distance? No problem for him but it's clear he'll need to master a long-distance weapon for such occasions. He nods somberly in regards to Laris belonging to the Weyrleader to take out, making no comment, but his gaze drifts over those assembled, looking for Rayathess or at least Ezra, hope lighting his brown eyes. They should be in on this! He makes no mention of it, however, merely listens to all that is said, but oh, his poor head! All the draconic communications being bounced around inside his sleep-deprived skull while he's trying to focus on Th'ero's instructions is a challenge in keeping them unjumbled. Dremkoth doesn't seem to have a problem with it, however. The bronze accepts the coordinates easily, thoughtfully holding them until the Weyrleader is finished speaking before sharing them with his rider.

Ezra bolts out of the living caverns struggling into his Stonehaven jacket. Too hot for that coat? Try telling the kid that. He looks around frantically, eyes wide until he spots Dremkoth. Then he's bolting in that direction, running as if his life depended on it. But will he get there in time? And be allowed to go?

Niumdreoth got the call from Velokraeth to get Abigail to join the rest for this get together on what is to be done. While the brown dragon rests within the bowl with the rest Abbey is making her way towards where everyone is meeting. She is pulling on her flight jacket just before catching sight of the others and she comes jogging up towards them. A quick salute is offered to both Th'ero and Kimmila. "Morning." Is heard, catching sight of D'ani she sends him a smile and nod. When it comes to items with her she has her quiver and bow, plenty of daggers even if there not seen, and who knows what else is already packed away within her dragon's straps.

And who is hot on the heels of said bolting kid? His brother, of course. "Ezra, wait!" Rayathess is heard calling, having no jacket in hand or looking at all prepared to be taking flight and heading into an assault on an island. A string of curses follows as he has to dodge some weyrfolk carrying supplies and there is no time to hesitate either at the sight of so many dragons, so many people. No, he's got his focus set on catching up to Ezra for now!

Can there ever be too much, given where they are going and what they are about to do? Th'ero will spare Kimmila and Varmiroth a lingering look, the Weyrleader's expression shifting subtly before regaining it's rigid and stoic appearance. Velokraeth chuffs in a few short, sharp bursts and extends his wings again as far as he can without smacking them upside some poor dragon's side or head. « We do no good idling here! » he grumbles, tail flicking in irritation. « If you are all quite ready? Let us be off, before they catch wind of us again and scatter to hide in some other forsaken hovel! » Th'ero returns the salute to Abigail as Niumdreoth approaches and motions for them to prepare for flight. The Weyrleader is about to raise his gloved hand for the signal, only to pause as the sight of a bolting figure captures his attention — or rather the color of the jacket. Oh no. "Absolutely not!" Th'ero barks out in an alarmed but firm voice, his eyes immediately seeking D'ani and pinning him under a look that is commanding and unwavering. Velokraeth's wings quiver for a moment, agitated as the pale bronze shifts his weight. « It will be far too dangerous. Where we go is no place for them. » he intones in a level voice, taking up where his rider so abruptly cut off.

The bowls seem so empty now and there is an eerie hushed silence to the Weyr as those left behind can only hold their breaths and wait on the news. The Weyrwoman keep the staff busy though and soon not many are left idle. In a situation such as this, the Weyr has to be prepared in many ways, though most are hoping that the injury list remains low… if any at all. There will be the issue too of housing any "guests" in the barracks by the end of this. M'icha has the Weyrlings organized and on messenger duties and close-range sweeps for now and the watchriders remain on the rims. Word is sent to the outlying Holds and as far as Xanadu Weyr. High above, Thunderbird remains aloft, holding formation and altitude though in moments Wingleader Nishka's brown Azath will be casting his thoughts to them. Is something wrong? They cannot hold here forever!

Varmiroth mantles his wings, ready to spring aloft but not rising yet. At Th'ero's bark Kimmila jumps, looking around until she spots Ezra. "Oh." She'd forgotten about the Stonehaven boys. Which is odd, all things considered. She bites her lower lip, indecisive, but in the end she decides not to disagree with Th'ero in this. He has enough on his mind. So she sits silent.

Since D'ani is scanning the bowl, he's looking when Abigail and Niumdreoth arrive. Dremkoth chuffs a good-natured greeting to the brown while his rider returns her smile, calls a fond-sounding, "Hi damsel," to her before returning to seek a certain someone. His gaze just passes the cavern entrance when what to wondering eyes does appear? A Hold-heir led by one tiny… teenager. He's waiting for the command to lift off, pulling on his gloves, but lifts one hand, limp glove dangling from it to wave, then yanks it on while Th'ero barks. Oops? He sighs, but nods agreement to the Weyrleader and then lifts both hands in a gesture of apology to Ezra down there. Fourteen turns is young yet for possible combat situations. His gaze then slides to Rayathess and becomes subtly challenging. If anyone ought to speak up and request being a part of this, it rests with him. If he does, then he'll support him. Beneath him, Dremkoth crouches and half-spreads his wing in readiness to the lift-off command. He's not going to argue with Varmiroth's logic.

Ezra comes to a skidding halt, stopped both by the Weyrleader's commanding tone and Rayathess' call. Turning, the boy yanks on his coat and fumes, staring at his brother. Then he looks at D'ani, mute appeal in his eyes

Abigail looks a bit amused at the 'damsel' from D'ani. "At times." She offers back with an amused tone towards the bronzer. Niumdreoth warbles out to Dremkoth while he crouches there ready and waiting it seems. At the running movement a glance is sent over and she watches both Ezra and Rayathess move towards the group and she frowns a moment upon hearing Th'ero. Well she can understand that to come degree. Still, they have both been through so much. Niumdreoth rumbles softly « It will be dangerous for us all..» Abbey clears her throat just a bit as she catches that from her dear dragon. "Would Rayathess be allowed to join with if he so chooses? Perhaps be allowed to see some part of all this end after everything that has happened?" Seems she's willing to stick her neck out on the line a bit for at least one of them being able to go.

Rayathess catches up at last, breathing heavily after chasing his brother down. Reaching out, he'll attempt to grasp Ezra by the arm or shoulder, if the teenager doesn't shrug or shove him off. He scowls right back at his brother's fuming look, only to then look up to where D'ani is mounted on Dremkoth's neck. Subtle challenge is met as the young man bristles, jaw tensing but he will not meet it in the end. He glances away instead and there is a defeated and conflicted look to Rayathess. This can't be easy on him and neither was his brother taking off like that! But his decision is clear: he'll be staying in the Weyr, with Ezra. "What were you thinking!?" he mutters in a near hiss to Ezra and already he's attempting to pull him away. "We'd be no help to them!" He knows his strengths… and they are not for situations like these.

And it would seem Kimmila is not the only one who forgot about the Stonehaven boys in the chaos, though Th'ero remembers now with Ezra's abrupt arrival. The Weyrleader's gaze lifts from D'ani, turning then to Kimmila though he only nods when she does not disagree with him. To Abgail, Th'ero only frowns and mutters, "If he so chooses." Under all his grimness and strict denial, he is guilty for having to bring his decision down so hard and swift. He knows how much this would and does mean not only to the teenager but the older heir too and perhaps he does feel bad for having to keep them here. But better than underfoot and… possibly worse. Without a downward glance, Th'ero lifts his hand again and drops it in the signal while Velokraeth reaches out to reassure Azath that all is well and that they are coming now. Crouching, the pale bronze springs upwards then, wings beating furiously to gain the speed he needs to quickly join the Wing above.

Varmiroth is quick to spring aloft as well, Kimmila sparing no glance for the boys in the bowl. Her focus is forward, on what they will be facing. And, Faranth willing, they'll have good news for the boys when they return.

D'ani's gaze is steady upon Rayathess, compassion mingled in with his challenge for the other young man to speak up. When he doesn't, he sighs again, breath caught to hear what the Weyrleader has to say in response to Abigail's appeal. "We might need someone to identify him?" he adds. Have they seen Laris lately? What if the man is changed or disguised? Little characteristics known to Rayathess would be identifiable. When Th'ero grudgingly gives Rayathess tacit permission to decide, he turns and lifts a brow, offers the strap. His offer is a pledge to be responsible for his safety as well as an invitation to be a part of his enemy's demise. Regardless of his decision, Dremkoth will not linger long in climbing to the skies to join the formation, so he'd better be quick!

Ezra shifts a bit beneath his brother's hand, stiff and stubborn, but as the dragons lift off without him he spins and stalks away, down towards the lake. "We should /be/ there," he hisses back at his brother. "They're going to avenge Stonehaven! Us staying here while they do our work is…it's cowardly!"

Abigail didn't get chewed out at least, well not yet. A simple nod is seen before she looks back to Rayathess and Ezra. A faint smile is offered to them and the turns moving over to Niumdreoth and is quick to mount up. There is but a pause as if to make sure Rayathess is indeed staying, if he wants a lift she seems there to give it, so there are two dragons offering a space for him. Niumdreoth will not wait for long though and Abbey watches the older brother quietly before giving the word to her dragon. Either way they are off. The brown is quick to follow after the others, leaping into the air after Dremkoth and is climbing upwards into the air with a few powerful flaps up his wings until he is there in his spot for the trip to where they are going.

Rayathess hesitates as Ezra spins and begins to stalk away, looking back over his shoulder to where D'ani literally dangles temptation right in front of him. Eyes linger, lock onto that strap and his hand twitches at his side. Does he take it and ditch his brother? No, that would never happen. If he goes, Ezra goes and somehow the young man can't stomach that. "I can't." Rayathess calls up to D'ani, already taking a step back and his eyes blinking, turning to watch the reciding back of Ezra as the teenager stalks further away. "This isn't my fight anymore." Without further explanation (perhaps that will come later, when or if he has to answer for himself), Rayathess turns and catches up to Ezra, not even glancing back even as he feels the rush of wings at his back. "They're going to do their duty! If staying here is cowardly, then so be it. It's better than being killed!" he whispers heatedly to his sibling, his voice then dropping too low to be overheard.

Once everyone has taken their place among the formations, the coordinates are passed along again, followed swiftly with a repetition of the commands and orders. Th'ero sits tense and rigid in his saddle, hands gripping the straps with a steadily growing fierceness. No time to reflect, no time to doubt. It's now or never and the Weyrleader gives the signal again, just as Velokraeth relays in a wash of rich honeyed tones. « Go! » Does there need to be more explanation?

Between is but a too brief gap of time and then they are above a startling blue lake, closed in at all sides by high cliffs, rolling hills and far distant mountains. The terrain here is both beautiful but rugged, wild and barely tamed. Far below lies their target: the island, large and the only one in the broad, wide bowl-shaped lake. Cries of challenge rend the air as several dragons announce their charge. No sense hiding now! Commands pass from mind to mind: Nishka is moving in now with her first wave, all others on standby and commence the distractions. Sure enough, a portion of dragons break away, swooping into another formation far more aggressive in nature as they dive down towards where the island is lowest and broken and offers the only tie to the mainland. Here is where the Guards will be released and they won't be idle for long. Voices can be heard below, calls of alarm and panic and the strange platforms and boardwalks are suddenly filled with people. Some stand ground, but too large of a portion are fleeing. Above in the air, the remaining dragons begin to circle the island, creating a very intimidating and confusing picture. Hard to count the true numbers if your targets are constantly in motion! Th'ero remains aloft with Velokraeth for now, the bronze wheeling in another swift (as he can manage) pass of the island and the pale bronze reaches out for Varmiroth, Niumdreoth and Dremkoth. « Can any of you puzzle out those platforms and their purpose? Are we dealing with caves or just more trickery? Our turn comes soon. Best we know now what we face! »

Varmiroth vanishes and re-emerges beside Velokraeth, holding his formation as he peers down. « Mine is not sure, but if anyone could dig into this island then Laris could. She thinks there probably are tunnels of some sort down there. » Kimmila has her bow in hand, arrow notched and ready though they're still far too far away to make any sort of good shot.

D'ani watches the hold-heir come to his decision and then nods, respect for the decision conveyed in the smart salute he gives Rayathess. At least he'll know he was accepted as part of the contingent hunting Laris. His dark eyes then seek Ezra's form, concern etched in his features before they drop back to the other young man. "Take care of him," he says, leaving the boy in the hands his welfare rightly belongs, urging Dremkoth up just as the Between command is given and they disappear along with the rest of them. When they burst out of the ice cold darkness, D'ani is focused on the fight below, Fort and the friends left behind there firmly settled to the back of his mind. Behind Varmiroth, D'ani studies the scene below, turning to answer Th'ero's question with one of his own, "Shall we burn their bridges?" He gestures to those planked boardwalks that might allow escape. He patpats the sack of firestone hanging at his saddle, the curl of flame past his bronze's muzzle testament that he's chewed at least a little in readiness and is more than willing.

Abigail glances over to D'ani a few moents as they follow after the other. "he'll be alright D'ani." This said softly to the other rider before the call to go between it heard. Once on the other side Niumdreoth is warbling out his challenges with the others, yes, flee, and run evil people below, or something along those lines. Abbey sends her gaze down towards the island to take the place in while gripping at her bow, an arrow ready. "They use them to get from place to place for sure." A slight shake of her head is seen this could be a long fight if they are really dug into this island well. « Mine feels the platforms are useful for them to get from place to place, and most likely dug in well to this place. » Niumdreoth offers up, there is a low rumble as he catches sight of Dremkoth sending a curl of flame into the air. Seems he likes this idea of getting to burn something!

Velokraeth keeps his position as point-lead in the formation as he circles again around the island, swooping lower on the next pass. « Yours is probably right, Varmiroth. And if there are tunnels, we cannot burn those… bridges? … » There's a pause, as if the bronze is confirming this. « Perhaps you are right, Niumdreoth. Some are camouflaged, others are not. Mine says we do not burn them. We risk too much and can harm our Guards or the innocent who may be trapped too. They are cut off with nowhere to go. Look. » And Velokraeth will swivel his head to where the island dips down, pieces of it breaking off but the only actual "link" to escape. Already some riders have landed there, forming a barrier. No one goes in or out that route, leaving only those on the island and already several are being caught and turned back along the shores. The waters are too deep and any who try to swim or take a boat are only plucked out after they're left to flounder for some time. Above, Velokraeth snorts in disgust. « Clumsy. Either this is all a trap or the Bad One has slipped. Azath's say many of those already surrendering look thin. Not many look to be fighters. » Th'ero turns in his saddle then, signaling to D'ani. « Mine says you can move away and bluff with some flame, Dremkoth! Scare them witless, but don't harm. You'll provide distraction for us to close in! Join us after. » No barbeque of the island! Yet.

The other Wingriders are continuing their spinning, wheeling "net" around the island, a few breaking off at intervals but often missed in the chaos below. For indeed, Laris' hold on his men and followers has waned over the Turns. There may have already been some festering discontent in the group and now it reaches a breaking point as many panic at the sight of so many riders and then finding themselves closed in by Guards as well. Few fight back and those that do are rapidly calling together some sense of order as they fall back towards the top of the island. There are caves in that island, crude ones and they offer little in the way of protection. Laris had time for sure, but he squandered it poorly. Now everything is crumbling apart. Time to strike! « With me! » Velokraeth calls to Varmiroth and Niumdreoth. « Cover us! » Is directed to Dremkoth and then the pale bronze is folding his wings, diving steeply towards one of the less forested sections of the island. It's a tricky spot to land, the rock underfoot crumbling and sliding a bit even as Velokraeth lands with a disgruntled sound. Not that he lingers long, as Th'ero dismounts swiftly the moment he is able, drawing his sword and moving back, crouched in a defensive position. No attack comes though. This side of the island seems quiet or momentarily forgotten, though there's the obvious sign of one of those odd platforms off ahead. Velokraeth pushes off, wings beating again as he wheels off again to circle the island.

Varmiroth swoops down afterwards, after giving a triumphant and excited bugle to Dremkoth. He gets to flame! That is SO COOL. Landing nimbly after Velokraeth, he nuzzles his rider after she dismounts, and the pair share a quick moment before the blue springs aloft to circle with Velokraeth once more. Bow in hand, arrow notched and half drawn, Kimmila moves to stand beside Th'ero and she looks around. "This is too easy." Or she's too paranoid.

D'ani leans over and cranes his neck, peering down at the bridge, smiling in relief to see the way there barred by dragons. There will be no escape this time! He salutes Th'ero even as Dremkoth tilts a wing and drops from the formation altitude lost so fast his wingmembranes rattle a screeching howl that might just intimidate the island-bound renegades without the flame. Turning on a wing, they make a tight circle of the island, a low pass while the bronze's maw opens and releases a gout of flame that sears the top of the water in a line headed straight for several bobbing boats moored at their poles some distance offshore. There had been four men swimming for them but as the boats burst into flame with a cracking roar, they cry out, tread water and then flail as the fire spout from Dremkoth herds them hastily back to shore. Above them the Weyrleader and his group make their move and the bronze boomerangs back to the skies, flapping heavily to gain altitude so he can be in a position to cover as requested. He remains aloft, skimming the island forest, but holding his flame, both watchful for any movement or ambush.

Niumdreoth snorts as he hears that Dremkoth gets to flame, really! He does send a warble towards the bronze as the plan is given. Abigail is quick to snag a few things from her straps and tucks them upon her person before gripping hold as Niumdreoth follows down after Velokraeth and Varmiroth. The brown slows only slightly given the others time to land and allow there riders off before he is landing in a half crouches with a low rumble escaping him. Abbey has undone her straps and is jumping down to the ground quickly. Niumdreoth isn't eager to leave and noses against his rider with worry before he is turning back to the skies to follow after the others in the circling movements around the island. With bow back in hand, and arrow ready Abbey moves forward closer to where Kimmila and Th'ero are while her gaze drifts around slowly to take the place in.

Kouzevelth was supposed to be here the entire time — that is to say, /she/ was expected, and /she/ was paying attention, and /she/ was keeping the other dragons apprised of how her rider was — not, so much, able to extricate herself from what she had been doing in a timely fashion. Some Lower Caverns drama the gold chose not to elaborate on; either way, there she is, Inri a-dragonback and bemoaning her lifemate's unfortunate size as they try to find a place to land. She, unlike the others, has no flame; there is a mental thunderclap, the sound of angry birds in a rainforest tree, in the background of her voice as she queries Velokraeth, « Where do you want us? Mine is sorry we were slow. Weyrbrats. » And no explanation besides, but surely it was important?

"Keep your guard and watch up," Th'ero mutters low to Kimmila, stepping in closer to the bluerider's side and placing her in the best possible position that will allow her a clear shot and he will still have open range for his sword. This is too easy. The Weyrleader is suspicious as well and it shows in the glance he gives her. "Could be fate favors us for once." Or just pure, pure luck! At the sound of alarmed cries and the crackling roar of fire meeting wood, Th'ero smirks. Looks like the distraction worked! And does it ever. No one ventures near the docks now and those nearby give in without much of a fight, making for swift clean up for the Guards. Abigail is joining them then and he gestures for her to take position opposite to Kimmila and then motions towards the partially covered platform ahead. It's the only way to go, as the rock climbs too steeply for them to gain any footing and the other way is down. Th'ero seems drawn to go up though and he begins to edge forwards. Once on the platform, it winds steadily around the curve of the island, making a clever bypass. Go around rather than up! And it will steadily lead them all right to the tallest crest of the island.

Above, the sky remains filled with dragons though more are beginning to land to ring the shoreline of the mainland, providing an intimidating image even if they are resting. Commands continue to zip back and forth from mind to mind, with Azath's voice reaching out again. « More of that flame! Just in the air or over the water to bluff! It worked great! They are giving up! » So it would seem! A large portion of folk have been ushered into a group by that barrier and already some Guards and riders are working on making sure none escape. Velokraeth reaches back to Kouzevelth, one of those having landed to regain his strength. « Join the others where the island breaks apart and they have formed a barrier. They will need yours to organize the captured and injured. Keep an eye too for any trouble! » There is no question of their lateness, only a sense of relief for one more pair to help! Suddenly there is a ripple of concern across the links and Velokraeth adds to all he can reach. « Guards are meeting resistance near the heart of the island, but are pushing them back towards the top!» he warns, wings already mantling again in preparation for flight.

Kimmila nods to Th'ero, bow up and arrow drawn as she looks around them, gaze keen. She moves forward with Th'ero, one step at a time. "Watch out for traps," she warns, perhaps unnecessarily to their group. She does grin though at Dremkoth's flame, a wicked, wicked grin. Burn the bastards. "Glad there's a queen here," she adds quietly, mostly to herself.

« She will be okay! She is tough! If she needs saving, D'ani can throw her over his shoulder and rescue her, » assures Dremkoth facetiously to Niumdreoth in a rush of nightwind sprinkled by bloodred stars as they sweep by overhead. His tone is only half-kidding: they are watching - they have Abigail's back! The bronze trumpets a welcome for Kouzevelth's arrival, glad to see her as they veer back out over the water to do as Azath bid them. When the bronze turns his head for another chunk of firestone, D'ani is ready, having reached into that sack for a large piece. He hefts it, his biceps bulge as he swings the heavy 'stone and aims the toss for that wide-open maw. It meets the teeth with a spine-crawling clash as rock clatters against ivory and the crunching crush as it is chewed resounds over the crowd as he makes a low pass. Flakes and bits of stone rattle down upon people and walkways alike; an ominous rain of what's to come. As they arc around the island again Dremkoth's spout of flame precedes him, the end of the flame running across the surface of the water. The bronze is playing his part - eyes flash redly and between great gouts of flame, he roars. Fear! Him!

Niumdreoth lets out a faint rumble while his gaze followes after his rider before he is looking back to the others, a glance sent towards Dremkoth. « This I know, this I'm grateful for. But she is stubborn and does not always ask for help, even when she needs to. » Abigail sends a faint glance skywards, she heard that. Her gaze is quick to go back before her as she follows along after Kimmila, listening to the pair as her pale gaze flicks around. "Aye." Is said for the trap part. "Still, it is far more quiet then I would expect it to be." Hearing the arrival of Kouzevelth, Niumdreoth lets out a loud bugle, glad to see her here like many of the others.

Organizing is at least something Inri's relatively good at; no fighting for the juniorest of the weyrwomen, at least. That one is a lesson learned. Kouzevelth circles, once, twice, before finding the breaking point of the land and settling down slowly and gently, allowing Inri to actually jump down her neck. Too slow for this one. Most of what she's carrying is lessons learned from Gold Hill: that is to say, twice the medical supplies as usually found in her bag, and a beltknife. "Go on, hover and be scary," she tells her dragon, "You're big. Cast a shadow. So what if you can't flame?"

And fear them they do! First flame and now an ominous shadow? There are many dismayed cries from around the island and more cast down their arms (if they can even be called weapons) and simply give themselves over. Cowardly way out but no madman's words will keep them bound with dragons wheeling overhead and spouting flame! Simple minds are easy to sway and soon the riders on the ground below will find they'll have their hands full with holdless folk begging to be spared and to forgive them, that it was all HIS fault! Him and his loyal five! But it is hard to make sense out of a sea of babbling, terrified voices as they press forwards. Have fun organizing that! Azath's voice rings out above the din, calling to Dremkoth once more. « Finish with the last of your flame and that will be enough! For now. They are frightened but we do not want them to stampede! » Let them cower in suspense instead!

"No traps," Th'ero points out as he steps further along the platform, moving cautiously, eyes constantly moving and seeking, focused and wary. "Which is just as strange. Could he have got too cocky? Oversure of himself?" The Weyrleader mutters and then falls silent, head tilting to the side. "Kouzevelth." he confirms to Kimmila, glancing briefly over his shoulder to meet her gaze and nod. To Abigail he only gives a grimace of agreement. "It is. That is not all that troubles me though." He will leave it at that, as their path is now coming around and progresses into a gradual incline. Near the end is a blind turn, with one edge twisting back on itself as the platform drops below to a second lower level. The other side leads to firm ground and it's there that the Weyrleader heads, motioning with his hand for either Abigail or Kimmila to cover the other pathway. No sneaky back attacks!

When they are clear of the platform and reorient themselves, they'll find they are right at the top of the island and caught with nowhere to go but back. The covered part of the platform turns out to be a lookout from this level and they stand on a smooth shelf of rock that backs on to that inaccessible slop they encountered below. Cursing, Th'ero begins to backtrack, but it's too late. From a hidden access come the sounds of struggle and shouting, enough to cause the Weyrleader to pause just as four men hurry out. Three are tough looking brutes, though a bit haggard from their rough life and all holding crude hand weapons. The fourth needs no description: they'll know him on sight and he has changed little over the Turns, save to look even more crazed and perhaps thinner. Distracted as they are, Laris orders the hidden way blocked and his three remaining loyal men take care of that task with alarming swiftness. So there are traps! Possibly one of the only few. But the way is cut off now, if the muffled swearing and yelling from the tunnel inside.

Dun dun DUUUNNN. The moment the men emerge and Kimmila's brain identifies them as foe, she lets that arrow fly. It hits its mark straight and true, landing in the sword arm of one of those three with a sickening sounding twang/thump/yell. He drops his weapon and claps a hand over that wound as Kimmila quickly draws another arrow, but one of them men lunges at her before she can let it loose. Dropping her bow she draws her sword and with a yell lunges to meet him, steel against steel with no time to think. Above, Varmiroth roars and swoops down, hoping to startle the enemy.

« Oh yes. Indeed stubborn, » agrees Dremkoth of Abigail. « But who said she has to ask before being rescued? » That is definitely D'ani in those last words! The stench of phosphine and sulfur settle on the crowd along with the cooling smoke left in the bronze's wake. Despite his effort to intimidate, the bronze watches where he aims his spout of fire, the stuff lacing the water or sent harmlessly into the air. At least no one will chance diving in and swimming for land with the chance of being seared while they swim? As Kouzevelth joins him in the skies, Dremkoth croons almost smugly. His tone is enough that D'ani double-takes and flicks an intent scrutiny at that gold hide before shrugging and resuming his scan of the place where Th'ero and his group are. « You can make a big scaryface, show some teeth, growl and roar, » he tells the young queen, adding with supreme vanity, « And fly with me looking like awesomeness! » As bidden, he gushes his flame until the fumes are spent, continuing his circling and shadow-casting but at the shouts from the high point of the island, veers that way. Skimming over a shoulder of rocky incline, the bronze tilts a wing to bank over the spot where Abigail, Th'ero and Kimmila are when something flies up from the cluster of boulders. D'ani jerks and grunts, Dremkoth's flight falters, then steadies.

Abigail nods as she hears the hand for someone to stay back and make sure no one is going to do any sneaky back attacks. Her bow is lifted just slightly while she eyes the pathway, and thus it is being covered. « This is very true. » Niumdreoth offers back to Dremkoth as the large brown turns in the circle gliding upon those large wings up his higher towards where his rider and the others have went. The movement is caught from just a ways before her where Th'ero and Kimmila went, she blinks and lifts her head slightly in time to catch sight of the fight starting. So much for the place staying quiet. She turns and aims at one of the other men and let's her arrow fly, hoping to hit the man perhaps in his arm or shoulder and make him fall back before he can turn and jump towards them.

Dremkoth's suggestion is one that apparently Kouzevelth is taking him up on; not just the flying part, but the teeth-showing and the growling and unhappy lightning-thunder-torrents-of-rain-with-loud-jungle-animals mindscape. It would almost make Inri laugh if it weren't so serious; if people weren't, well, being /shot/ (though at least the shot was Kimmila's). She's drawn her knife out, but just in a way that shows she has it; also promiment on her shoulder is her knot, something she rarely makes a big deal of. This is a statement: she's a traveling diplomat and to harm her would be taken as a diplomatic assassination. The bronze's last struggle has the queen winging closer, just inc ase she needs to catch — nope, all good.

So much for an attempt to talk? Laris and his men have only enough time to see the three riders standing there and barely do they start to go on the defensive when Kimmila shoots and that arrow hits it's mark. Chaos breaks loose, with the one man charging the bluerider and the other two gathering their wits to make a similar charge. Laris' laughter is harsh and cruel and maddened, but he won't go with them. Why bother? Three men for three riders and he can worm his way down and away! What he forgets is how exposed he is at this height and as Varmiroth swoops down, the trick works! The men flinch, instinctively shying away from that shadow and looking up. It is all the opening Th'ero needs, wasting no time in protesting Kimmila's forwards attack and pressing forwards. The Weyrleader will take care of one of the men, tripping him up easily in his distracted state and sending him scrabbling for purchase before his forward motion sends him tumbling down the steep edge. No time to see if he landed battered or bruised or worse, as Th'ero has a much larger target to confront. Abigail's shot will miss, just grazing the man she meant to aim at and he focuses on her with a malicious intent and regaining his footing he will charge her again.

Below, Velokraeth roars his anger as he flares his wings and now his shadow is swooping overhead as he speeds towards the island once more, zipping right by Dremkoth and Kouzevelth without so much as a polite acknowledgement. For Th'ero has cornered Laris, but even before the Weyrleader can say a single word, attempt some sort of reasoning, the burly, barrel shaped man is charging him with an enraged cry. Didn't the bronzerider ever learn about cornering animals? There is the clash of metal then and they begin to circle, with Th'ero much wiser this time about Laris' skill and strength and trying to put distance between himself and the man. There is only so far he can go though and soon the Weyrleader is being edged back towards that lookout. Laris will press his attack then, sensing weakness and lacking any caution and Th'ero can only go on the defensive to keep from being struck as they move around each other.

On the ground, with the Guards now reporting most of the holdless flushed from the island, several break away to attempt to reach the top by another route but are hindered by dead ends and nature itself. Inri will find that no one challenges her or tries to attack, but seeing her knot will have some seeking her just to beg and plead. Wounded will start drifting in now too, from both sides and with the Weyrleader occupied, someone is going to have to organize who goes where, though Wingleader Nishka is sticking to the original plan. She keeps most of the Thunderbird wingriders grounded now, with a few still airborne.

Varmiroth soars upwards again and circles with a roar, but his mind reaches out to Dremkoth. He saw that! « Okay? » the blue asks, turning an entire question into a single word and a burst of concern. He circles around the outcropping, watching with eyes spinning in concern and agitation. He hates this. Hate hate HATE and the blue is not very good at keeping his feelings to himself. Kimmila's focus is the man she's battling, and though he's weaker and hungry, he's more skilled with his blade than she is and it takes all her focus to keep up with him. He has her on the defensive but something Th'ero told her once kicks in and with a cry she pushes forward on the offensive, sending the man scrambling back in alarm and briefly she has the upper hand.

Dremkoth glees in an aside to Kouzevelth's show of fiercesomeness. They don't get to do this often, do they? As Velokraeth swishes by, Dremkoth uncharacteristically bobbles. « D'ani is- » The reply to Varmiroth is cut off, likely by D'ani hushing him, the bronze arrowing in, following the other bronze's track with a roar. On his back, his rider grinds his teeth, helpless to aid the fight below, but he watches as the bronze circles over them, waiting for the chance to do… something. From his saddle, a weapon is loosened, taken up and twirled in readiness, all the while his complexion slowly and steadily drains of color, beads of dew form on his brow.

Abigail eyes widens as she sees that her shot misses, and he man is charging at her now. Well this isn't what she was planning. The others are a bit forgotten as she has her own problem to deal with. Bow is dropped and she pulls out a hunting knife, the blade is thick and long enough to be of some use but she doesn't have a sword with her. She waits just a moment shifting to the side once the man charging her is close enough and swings out with her blade towards the man's arm aiming for a hit about the elbow. Close quarter fighting for sure now. Niumdreoth is not happy, the brown wheels about letting out a deep bellowing roar as he sweeps across the edge of where his rider and the others are. He can only get so close to the outcropping to try and use his size to some advantage in perhaps scaring the ones there or perhaps even make them faulter in their attacks.

Inri's having about as much fun as anyone else isn't — it's her dragon who is all about the action, while she lies in wait. Which, at least, she prefers to any other involvement at this level! Kouzevelth's tail lashes, and anyone nearby /really/ wants to get out of the way; since she's circling low, it's also possible she might strike one of Laris' men in the head with it while attempting to dodge and intimidate. Nobody would try to /shoot/ a gold dragon, would they? She doesn't appear to care; having way too much fun scaring people. Mentally, she's laughing.

Velokraeth is right there with Varmiroth on the hatred for this situation. The pale bronze swoops by the blue, anger and concern following like an invisible trail behind him. But he cannot be of any help now. His bulky body cannot land up in such a close knit space and even if he tried to approach, he risks taking down the platform and the lookout above it. So he can only dive down and then veer sharply away, but not without roaring in frustration. Loudly. too, as Dremkoth's voice adds to his own. That ought to cause some distraction or at very least a flinch. Abigail's strike will hit home, causing her attacker to stagger back, swearing but before he can regroup he is taken off guard by the two roaring bronzes above. Now is her chance!

If Th'ero could see Kimmila now, he'd be proud of her — if this was a friendly sparring match and not a life and death situation. Unknowing of her own danger and struggle, he keeps his eyes focused on Laris, scowling and ignoring the creeping tired feeling in his muscles. The Weyrleader barely has time to reflect on how much the man has changed physically. Mentally, there are assumptions but as few words have been exchanged saved for a few oaths and curses before the two clash again. The two are well matched and soon they break away, one at either end of the lookout. Leaning heavily against the rail, Laris shows the first sign of doubt in his thick and heavy set brows. Suddenly the lookout is giving an unsettling shudder that vibrates through to the platform levels below. Guards have found the way up and they are rushing, but these ramshackle structures were never meant to handle so much at once. Something gives and there is an echoing groan, followed by a sharp snap and explosive crack as wood splinters and breaks. "It's collapsing!" Comes a shout from below and the platform begins to shudder and lean.

Thrown off balance, Th'ero is the first to recover, leaning almost drunkenly against the rail now while Laris struggles to gain his footing as the lookout begins to tilt. Sensing his chance, the Weyrleader drives forwards with a deep throated yell and his sword hits it's mark, sinking deep into the man's chest. Perhaps too quick an end but time is short and a sense of victory even shorter. As Laris begins to stagger back, Th'ero goes to pull his sword free, only to find his grip wrenched from the hilt and his feet taken out from under him. There is a screech and scream of wood and stone as the platform collapses inward, sending the lookout pitching forwards… Laris goes down first and the Weyrleader, despite trying to scrabble for purchase is suddenly finding himself suspended in the air before gravity kicks in and he falls towards the waters below.

No one will shoot a gold dragon! For that they are quite lucky. Though a few are going to wish they had somewhere to hide and Inri may find herself swarmed when the platform begins to collapse and Velokraeth's anguished and angered cry echoes across the skies, followed by another piercing roar as the pale bronze can only watch as his rider falls, too slow and too far to reach.

Kimmila pushes the attack on her bandit with a flurry of sword strikes that'd have Th'ero proud. If he was looking. And not falling off a cliff. Her own feet secure on the stone of the island itself, she lunges forward with a final sweep that inflicts a mortal wound across the man's chest. He returns it but his blade glances off her tunic, ripping it but seeming to do little else before he falls. And then Kimmila is wheeling, looking to see the status of the others, and that's when she sees Th'ero stab Laris. She lets out a cry of joy that quickly turns into a cry of fear when the platform begins to disintegrate. She lunges forward, tossing her sword away as she tries to get to him in time, but she's too late. All she can do is grab for the empty air as she watches him fall. And a sound is wrenched from her gut at his falling that is agonized and lost, mingling with Velokraeth's roar. Varmiroth dives, but he too is too late, swift though the blue might be. Without thinking, Kimmila starts to skid down the cliff face after him, trying to go at an angle and not fall too badly herself. And above, as Varmiroth soars, he pushes against Dremkoth's mind with half his attention. « D'ani what? » he demands.

Dremkoth is too busy to answer Varmiroth. That will have to come later. He's at a lower altitude than the other dragons and thus attempts a dive, the bronze folding his wings and dropping after the platform with talons extended to try and grab the Weyrleader or Abigail. In his mad scrabble to save someone, his claws bat away pieces of falling debris, sending them spinning away out over the water where they splash down harmlessly. At least those chunks won't hit someone on the head! But will he succeed? On his back D'ani leans forward, tucking his lasso under his thigh with a whistle of pain that goes otherwise unheeded because roping falling folks would do more harm than good and he might need his hands free.

Abigail turns about catching sight of the man she is fighting with seemingly stunned by the pair of roaring dragons. With him busy looking elsewhere she is not about to let this moment pass and quickly leaps forward to knock herself into the man along with dig that knife of hers stabbing into his side and the fall falling downwards onto the platform that for that one moment was still firm. The shouts go out that there is something falling, not that Abbey is paying attention to this as her hands are rather full at the moment with trying to avoid striking hits from the man she is dealing with. The platform is then crumbling, there are things falling around her and then she is as well before she is scrambling to grab hold of something. A half yell escaping her in the process which is matched by a roar from Niumdreoth whom is sweeping back around, though with everything falling, dragons sweeping in he doesn't have a chance to reach her no matter how he tries. Abbey catches sight of Dremkoth but has fallen down just out of reach, luckily though she is able to grab hold of some perch as she is slammed into the side of the rocky outcropping, with the man she was fighting actually found hanging next to her still very much alive. Well if that doesn't pose a problem.

Wood and debris fall, splashing to the waters below as they tumble past stone or are swatted aside by Dremkoth and sent skittering away. No one gets their head knocked by that at least! There is no sign of the Weyrleader though, vanished beneath the water along with Laris and those that are swimming to shore are only Guards who made a hasty dive for safety when the platform first began to list and crumble apart. Velokraeth's cries continue to echo across the sky, now carrying a panicked note among the furious anger as the pale bronze swoops to the water, only to arc up and veer away again. Poor Inri will have her hands full with keeping the captured and surrendering holdless calm and from bolting when Velokraeth's fury has him wheeling back towards them and swooping low overhead and then back to the water. He pays no mind to anyone, not Varmiroth, Dremkoth or Niumdreoth or any who try to call to him, possibly even rebuffing Kouzevelth's attempts to start.

Abigail's attacker goes down with her, grunting and cursing as his body is slammed against stone. His weapon falls in favor of survival and with both hands he scrabbles and claws at the cliffside until he skids to a stop. Balanced precariously, he spares a bare second to gather his wits before turning his head and spies Abigail there. A pained but malicious chuckle escapes him. Oh, he's very much alive but does not expect to live much longer. Why not pull her down with him? Digging in as best he can, he takes a swipe at the brownrider's boot, attempting to dislodge her hold. His balance wavers though and he has to stop to cling and regain his hold. But there is no doubt he'll try again and again, until either he, she or both of them go.

Below, where the island meets the mainland by a natural breakup of steps much like a pathway, the holdless are being gathered, cut off from escape by a literal barrier of riders and their dragons. Guards and other trained Thunderbird Wingriders are teeming across the island, routing out any lingering holdless and also coming to the aid of those near the section of platform and boardwalks that collapsed. Orders are being issued through the chaos, voices rising and calling out in a never ending din of noise. One such order is given by Thunderbird's Wingleader that has two Wingriders going in for a water rescue, once the last of the debris has fallen. Others work on keeping Velokraeth away and from interfering, as once the bronze senses their purpose he tries to wheel in and dive to join. It takes but moments before the riders find who they seek and they can be seen moving as swiftly as possible with their charge towards the nearest clear section of beach. Abigail's plight has not been seen, so it may be up to Dremkoth and D'ani to help now or the brownrider may be stuck for a bit!

Kimmila slips and slides and tumbles down that cliff, earning bumps and bruises and cuts for her trouble before she's diving into the water after Th'ero. The wingriders beat her too it though, and Kimmila swims strongly to that section of beach, scrambling up to slide onto her knees beside him. Turning him onto his side, she begins to pound on his back and shake him, and surely those streaks of water down her cheeks are from the lake, right? "Wingmate. /Wingmate/," she cries, before she shoves him onto his back again and pinches his nose, breathing hard into his lungs before she pumps on his chest. Healer mother FTW.

From the sky, a gold pops out from between. There is a brief pause in which the situation is assessed and the pair land where they will not cause much interference. Zuvaleyuth only remains still enough for Dtirae (who appears to be in a state of one who hastily pulled on leathers) to dismount before she's taking off, on way to Velokraeth with a gentle croon meant to be soothing, but intentions are clear as she means to restrain the bronze with mental command and draw him away. Dtirae watches, for a brief moment as her lifemate goes to assist before she, too, begins to attempt at calming the situation.

Dremkoth has followed the debris and people down to the water, but loses Th'ero amidst all the splashing and tumult there. Talons rake though the water up to his armpits on that sweeping pass, his attempt to snag the Weyrleader before he sinks, futile. Arcing back to the skies, his howl of dismay mingles with Velokraeth's. He twists to avoid the distraught dragon as the other streaks back towards the scene of the chaos, a move that brings a low-pitched cry from his rider and a clutching of fingers on the iron pommel-bar. D'ani knows he saw Abigail fall, but not where she landed. Assuming she too hit the water, he directs the bronze on another pass while intently scanning the surface of the lake for signs of her. She's spotted, alongside her adversary on the cliff face as they come 'round. The only way to get them is for Dremkoth to hover, facing the cliff and brace the foreclaws of one paw on a crag between the two while his wings beat to keep him there. It's meant to rescue both, but somehow the bronze's pinkie slips on the stone and flicks the fellow tumbling to the water below. Oops? D'ani has to draw a steadying breath before he can speak and when he does, though his lips are whited and voice strained, his comment is a drawled, "Damsel in distress, I presume?" Just who is in distress here? From where she is, she'll easily see the blood-stained leather and the arrow sticking out of his upper chest just shy of his shoulder.

Abigail just eyes the man who is near her. "I wouldn't do that if I was ye" She says though a low hiss, she doesn't need him to say anything for her to know what is going through his mind, that look is enough. On the second try her footing is loosened and she yelps a moment as she goes sliding downwards a few feet. The rocks are nice and sharp giving the once guard plenty of cuts along the way until she finds another gripping spot with her fingers. "Little piece of" The rest is lost as Niumdreoth sweeps back sending his tail slamming into the rock face and thus showering his riders attacker with rocks right before D'ani and Dremkoth move in to help. Abbey turns a glance down to the fallen one and she smirks. "Told ye" She hisses out once more while still gripping at the rocks. Her pale gaze turns to D'ani and she grins just a moment before noticing his in trouble, the blood is seen. "D'ani" There is clear worry seen across her face. "There are easier ways to save someone then with an arrow in ye. Though I know I very rarely even give ye the chance just ask next time." Less painful for him for sure. "Have a strap or rope handy?" One better believe that she is going to make sure D'ani gets help as soon as possible if he goes about saving her.

Velokraeth is driven back from the water, first by the persistent Wingriders and then Zuvaleyuth is there, crooning too him and though he hisses at her, lips curling back from his teeth as he protests and yet yields in the same stroke. Turning on his wings, he allows the gold to draw him away and he will land where she goes, though his wings will remain unfurled and partially mantled, braced and ready while his talons click and dig at the ground beneath him. His vigil is not a relaxed or calm one, as Velokraeth remains tense and oblivious to the events and chaos around him.

Oops! Abigail's adversary was not counting on having a bronze dragon suddenly on the scene. Perhaps his tumble down the rocky cliff knocked his brain loose or he never had a chance to see her knot before the attack began. Could be the small rocks from Niumdreoth's stunt pelting him from above too making him a bit addled in the head! He had just gone to reach to snag her boot again when Dremkoth's wing beats have him cowering and clinging to his perch. Yelling out in alarm, he is frozen in place and then with a strangled and startled sound finds himself flicked away and falling to the waters below to join his once-leader. How touching!

On the side of the island with the holdless gathered and being sorted through, both Weyrwomen will have their hands full and any Rider or Guard who ventures there. For many of the holdless folk are actually quite harmless, caught up by Laris' lies and unable to leave for various reasons most of which are grounded on fear. There are few scuffles, many of which that do fight now bound and rendered harmless. As far away from all the chaos as possible, a camp is being setup where the injured are brought and where most of the dragons crowd nearby to rest or resupply.

Then there is the small curved beach where the Wingriders have dragged the unconscious Weyrleader up safely ashore, only to hastily step back as Kimmila steps in and overrides them in her efforts to get a response from the bronzerider. They do not protest, save to encourage her when she begins to perform the same healing techniques they've been trained to do. Seconds tick by and Th'ero remains motionless — or so it seems. Something catches the attention of one of the Wingriders and he steps forwards to gesture animatedly to Kimmila, low words spoken in haste but hopeful. Sure enough, Th'ero coughs up that water, weakly at first and then with more force and he begins to twitch and shift against the sand. He will try to roll onto his side then, either managing in time or aided as he continues to cough and retch but each time his next breath seems all that much deeper.

Kimmila continues to work on Th'ero, and by now it's impossible to miss that the bluerider is crying. Sobbing, really, and she doesn't seem to care who hears her for once. Anyone doubting the devotion this bluerider has for the Weyrleader would not doubt after seeing this. "Please," she whispers harshly, gasping for breath before she pushes more air into his lungs. "Th'ero, please, don't leave me. Come back, please. You stupid, STUPID man." How touching. "How can you kill Laris and then hurt yourself falling off a cliff??! You idiot! Th'ero!" And then her voice shifts again to soft, pleading, almost whimpers. "Wingmate. Love. Please. Please! Oh no, no. No!" She rambles while she works, thumping his back while he rests on his side, and then pushing him over onto his back so she can breathe into his mouth and push against his chest, keeping up a gasping, steady stream of words to the unresponsive Weyrleader. Above, Varmiroth stays near Velokraeth, trying to calm the agitated bronze and most importantly keep him here. And back on that beach Kimmila lets out a cry when Th'ero begins to cough, and she supports him rolling over onto his side, thumping him on his back and shaking his shoulder. "Th'ero, Th'ero, Th'ero," she gasps. "You idiot!" And then she's just embracing him, folding her body over his and crying.

Zuvaleyuth is ignoring the hissing, continuing to croon and offer a silent comfort at Velokraeth's side, making sure to keep him where he stands so that all can be done for the Weyrleader. Her focus remains on the bronze, so she does not take in the scenery as much as Dtirae is. The Weyrwoman is assisting in gathering up the holdless and rendering them incapable of movement before word of the Weyrleader's status has her pausing. Orders are given to Inri to continue to assist before she's heading in the direction of Weyrleader and his weyrmate. She is not wearing a happy face.

"Yeah well, I was in the neighborhood." D'ani quips, though his grin is on the sickly side when he returns the one Abigail sports. Wordlessly he swings the flight strap towards her with his good arm. Since the bronze's forearm is anchored right there providing a bridge, he instructs, "Walk up Dremkoth's foreleg while you pull yourself aboard?" He'll do what he can to help reel her in with one arm, but it's clear he won't be able to do much without her help. Or even with it. When Abigail is settled, Dremkoth drops his forearm from the rock and backwings away from the cliff to avoid snagging his wingtips on the sharp rockface, then turns to glide down to the beach where Kimmila's been working on Th'ero. He hasn't been able to catch much through Dremkoth save that they've hauled his body from the water. The sobbing form of Kimmila does not bode well from his perspective and his shoulders slump. As Dremkoth is settling to the sand, he swallows against a wave of dizziness, turns his head over his shoulder and starts, "Abbey I need a little-" And he slumps sideways, unconscious. Yeee-e-e-e-e-p. Fainted like a girl!

Abigail shakes her head a moment, with a soft breath escaping her. A glance is sent to Dremkoth's leg and she soon nods. "Gotcha." Is heard while she goes about walking up Dremkoth's leg, a hand moving to take hold of the strap. Her hands are bloody, fingers and palms ripped up thanks to the rocks, and her wrists are throbbing along with other areas but she isn't paying it any attention seeing how D'ani is the one with an arrow in him. Once sitting on Dremkoth she is quick to peer at D'ani's side trying to see where about the arrow actually is. Niumdreoth is there following after the bronze, low worried warbles escaping him. « D'ani is hurt. » This is sent towards other dragons, and to alert any on the beach of this so help will be on the way. The sight of Kimmila over Th'ero is caught and Abbey looks over to them about to say something before D'ani has her full attention. Her hands are quick to grab at his shoulders, one arm wrapping around him to hopefully keep up from falling. "I got ye." Is offered to the unconscious D'ani before she is calling out for help.

Th'ero has been oblivious to most of Kimmila's desperate cries and now that he is sluggishly coming to his senses, he is clearly disorientated. Weakened, he can only continue to cough and lay half on his side, barely propped up by his elbow as he struggles to focus and clear his head and senses. So the first clear words he hears is his name being called (likely echoed in force by a much relieved and annoyed Velokraeth) as she shakes his shoulder and then Kimmila calling him an idiot just before embracing him. "Kimm?" Is all he can manage for now, whispered hoarsely and broken by further clearing of his throat. But he does reach for her, embracing her back as best he can though it may be nothing more than his hand resting against her side or back. Weak in it's grasp, but gradually strengthening.

Velokraeth sags with his relief when Th'ero regains consciousness, but his anger and upset remain intact. Zuvaleyuth will be able to slowly relinquish her hold though now, as the bronze simply sinks where he is, wings folding up against his sides, finally giving in to the exhaustion he had not felt until that point. Little does the Weyrleader know too that Dtirae is on her way, but perhaps he will be spared a few more moments as D'ani passes out. Thanks, man? Let the younger bronzerider deal with the Weyrwoman's not-happy face.

Kimmila just hugs Th'ero back, clinging to him tightly as she regains her senses and lets her fear fall away. He's fine, he's fine, he's fine. Varmiroth trumpets his happiness before the blue lays down beside Velokraeth, actually nestling close to the larger dragon. "I thought I'd lost you," Kimmila whispers hoarsely, finally lifting her head and pushing back her hair, looking around. And it's then that she spots D'ani, and she gasps with a soft cry, clapping a hand over her mouth. "Is he okay?"

Dremkoth squawks, surprised by the sudden lightness to the hold on and in his mind that had forbade his answer to Varmiroth's past question. Eyes whirl from yellow to orange as he swivels his sinuous neck around to his rider, growing more agitated as the seconds tick by and he cannot find the place where D'ani's mindtouch has gone. Dark, dark confusion crackles the bare branched trees of concern that rake at the other dragons present, « He isn't sleeping! He is hurt. He feels *Between* but I see him sitting there! » The young bronze doesn't go flailing off across the skies, but he does tremble while whuffling at his rider, his nostrils flaring at the scent of blood. « He smells funny. I do not like this! »

Th'ero is indeed lucky that D'ani's fainting has her attention and she's quickly diverted, especially as Abigail is calling for help. Th'ero will be dealt with later. Dtirae turns and begins to jog over to the pair, offering assistance in helping the bronzerider. "We need to stop the bleeding, Abigail." A look to the brownrider before her gaze is drifting towards Zuvaleyuth for a brief moment. The gold responds before she's leaving Velokraeth's side to take a spot near Dremkoth. « Calm yourself. » Look, she can speak plainly! « He is not gone. He will be well. » It's a struggle, clearly, but the gold keeps her tone calm and means to influence the bronze to stay /put/ while Dtirae assists his rider.

Abigail swallows a moment while holding onto D'ani still until she is able to get help to get him down. "D'ani, come on. Don't do that.." She gives him a shake even. Niumdreoth has passed along everything that Dremkoth has said to his rider. The large brown is crouching down next to the bronze. « Mine says to not panic, stay, they will help him. » There is a crisp night sky that attaches to Dremkoth's trees, bright colors of pinks and blues brighten up the sky. Abbey already hand pressing against D'ani side where the arrow is, her gaze flicks to Dtirae and a quick nod is seen before she turns her gaze back to D'ani. It takes a moment for her to calm enough to think straight. "Have some bandage or something that I can press against it?" Would be better than her hand. A healer around would be nice too. "If'nn the arrow was out would be better, but I an't a healer." She has no clue where that arrow could possible be.

Velokraeth does not protest Varmiroth nestling in close, though the pale bronze's attention is still drawn towards the island and where his rider still lays on the beach. Occasionally he will rumble, low and deep and his wings will rustle and tail will twitch but he stays put. Only when Niumdreoth's update comes does the bronze lift his head up, eye's whirling rapidly and concerned once more. « Bad? » he asks to all who can hear him and are involved. « Don't tell me he has adopted the same cursed luck as mine! » he muses dryly, but humor is a flimsy mask. « Help will come. » he extends to Dremkoth. He will be safe. Just like Th'ero is! Safe from drowning at least. From the wrath of those that love and care about him? Another matter entirely. Th'ero has a rather perplexed look on his face, thoughts still rattled and his head aching and pounding, along with a various other array of nagging hurts. Bruises and scratches, as well as the continued irritation of his lungs and throat. So he begins to hug Kimmila back, both out of slow dawning realization of what occurred and relief, but for support as well. Literally. He leans his weight against her, shakey and discoordinated, but very much alive. "Not dead yet," Th'ero coughs out, smiling weakly though that soon wavers into a grimace. "Not lost, Kimm. It's okay—" He reaches for her then, maybe for a tender gesture of reassurance but it falls awkwardly as he goes to crane his head when she gasps out. "What?" he slurs, frowning heavily and then grunting when it clicks. He cannot see D'ani, but enough is passed via Velokraeth for him to know and assume… So of course Th'ero begins to try and gather some strength, pushing against Kimmila in a way that hints that he's preparing to get to his feet or making a good attempt at it. Right now, his legs don't quite seem to want to obey.

All the while, the sound of chaos around the island is ebbing — slowly. The island has been cleared, but continues to be scoured by Guards and Riders alike. Wingleader Nishka keeps her Wing in order, delegating tasks as needed and following any given by Inri or Dtirae. As for the holdless… they're well and truly subdued now and with the dragons gone from the sky there is no longer the air of panic, just a tension and apprehension for what is to come. Healers are nearby! Sort of. Those two Wingriders who dragged the Weyrleader from the water are now approaching Dtirae and Abigail, offering their skills for as far as they may go. Better than nothing while they wait on the true Healers to get here.

Varmiroth reaches to Dremkoth as well, his voice soothing but also understanding. Apparently he deals with this sort of thing a lot. « He is hurt, but he will be okay. Stay with him, be there for him because he will be hurting. » Kimmila clings to Th'ero, hugging him close. She herself has some cuts and bruises that will need cleaning at least, but nothing horrible. And the sword gash across her tunic, though oddly (luckily!) it didn't seem to reach her skin as there's no blood, just a sliced bit of fabric. "D'ani got shot with an arrow," she says, grimacing. She knows how that feels! Then she settles her weight, sitting like a stone. "No, Wingmate, you stay here. He's right over there and the dragons will keep us informed. He'll be okay."

Dremkoth sinks into a crouch, understanding that they'll need to get his rider off in order to help him. He sends a startrail across the dawnlit skies of Niumdreoth's, a nebulous streak that is shared with the brown but headed for Zuvaleyuth first and then Velokraeth. « I hear. » His eyes are still orange, he still trembles but his tone is less frantic. He's frozen, as if immobility will help his rider, only his tailtip jerks restlessly to and fro. D'ani's lids flicker as those two healers help ease him out of the saddle, undoing the straps. Once laid out on the sand, they'll see the arrow, pinning D'ani's jacket to his chest, the arrow imbedded one quarter of its length just under D'ani's collarbone and shy of his shoulder joint (they'll probably have to cut the arrow to get that jacket off). "An inch higher and it would have hit his jugular," notes the healer soberly. So… it looks like D'ani is oh-so-lucky? "Best leave it in. There's enough blood loss without ripping it out and he'll need surgery to close what vein it managed to hit. See, it's seeping rather than gushing." D'ani? Blessedly out-cold and missing Dteirae's Skeery-Not-Happy face.

Dtirae looks close to be shouting for a healer, and close to ripping someone's head off. But, luck would have it that a healer comes with the wingriders. A look to Abigail and the wingriders. Her gaze then turns to the bronzerider as the healer explains the situation. There's a wince and she nods once, grimly. "Understood." She doesn't ask any questions, "do what you need to." A stern look is given to the wingriders present once more, "help the healer as needed to get him ready for whatever needs to be done." And then, she's striding with an unpleasant look over towards Th'ero. There are still other matters to attend to, and she trusts the three riders to help D'ani through it.

Abigail isn't leaving D'ani's side it seems, a glance is sent to the healer once they are there looking over the down rider and she is quiet while taking everything in. A soft breath escapes her and she nods to what is said. "Whatever I can do ta help. Let me know." Because she is going to help so they might as well given her something to do. With the healers there she is able to relax a hair, there is a dull ache in her arm that she is feeling now that was over looked thanks to everything going on. Not that she is commenting about it now mind you. Niumdreoth stays close to Dremkoth, soft warble escaping him. « See, they help yours. Mine will not leave him either. » His night sky continues, bright stars now starting to be seen above those trees, the pinks and blues are a bit faint but still to be found.

With Kimmila's weight like a stone and unmoving, Th'ero has no choice but to fall back down on his side, though he turns his head to look up at her, brows knitted together. There is no strength left in him to be stubborn, and it's clear in his eyes that he believes he should be there, so he only exhales in frustration, coughing again. "It won't be that far to walk." Or drag himself. "An arrow?" he adds with his own grimace and tone of disbelief, if not disturbed. Did someone truly fire at a rider? His eyes close for a moment, head throbbing and aching him and he gives it a slight shake to clear it. Taking a deep breath, it ends hitched and with him hissing slightly in pain and trying again, managing but not as deep as before. "We can only hope he will recover." Th'ero murmurs in a gruff tone, eyes lifting again to stare across the beach to where the Wingriders are now laying out D'ani's unconscious body. The Weyrleader makes another frustrated sound and begins to move again, but only to shift closer to Kimmila, clinging to her with more strength. "You're hurt?" he asks, only now seeing that gash in her tunic and reaching for it. Not that he'll have long to reflect on it, as Dtirae has left D'ani in capable hands and is now directing her not-so-happy self his way. Uh oh.

Kimmila slips an arm around Th'ero, helping him sit up. "Just rest for a moment, the Healers are tending to him," she murmurs. "Yes, an arrow." Scowl. "He'll be fine," she says with more confidence than she likely feels, as her eyes are troubled when she looks in the young bronzerider's direction. "We still need him after all," she mutters in an undertone. "I'm fine," she says, dismissively, though she gives him a pointed look. "A little bruised after I slid down the cliff after you." Wiping her eyes on her sleeve, she seems to be pulling herself back together remarkably well. And if she's embarrassed about her outburst, well. She'll just pretend that never happened. Lifting her green eyes, she sits up a little straighter at Dtirae's approach. "What news?"

To the brownrider the healers only nod, handing her the bandaging material while they work on that arrow. With a sharp knife, cutting notches in the haft they are finally able to snap the thing, leaving a 2 inch stub and the buried arrowhead where it is imbedded in the bronzerider's body. They ease the jacket off of it, leaving it loosely-draped about him. The vibration draws a low moan of pain, but D'ani dreams on in Lala Land while they create a thickly-padded bandage over his collarbone/shoulder area. "Alright now, Ma'am," one of the healers says handing Abigail a palm-sized pad of gauze, "Press here - nono, part your fingers on either side of the arrow, we don't want to push that in further. That's right. Keep it steady, don't let up. We've others to check on and we'll see to a makeshift stretcher." Which hopefully they'll do, because being hauled back to the Weyr in someone's arms like a damsel in distress would be the final ignominy. D'ani would never live that down!

Dtirae fixes her gaze on Th'ero, first, looking him over. Her mind is put at ease, or, so her expression would hint at as she relaxes a fraction. "It missed his jugular, so he is fine in that respect. It didn't make it to the other end, so they'll have to leave it in for now. It'll need to be removed with surgery. But, I think it is afe to say that he'll make it." She answers to Kimmila, briefly considering the bluerider before her gaze resettles on the Weyrleader. "Kimmila, I would appreciate if you would not fight me on this." Because the Weyrwoman is moving in on the Weyrleader and looking entirely bloodthirsty as she reaches for him. Is she going for the throat?! No, instead, she's drawing back after latching onto something — the Weyrleader's knot — and it comes with her. The knot is held firmly in her hand as she backs a few steps and out of reach of both the bluerider and Weyrleader. Her lips are pressed into a thin line, "from this moment on, Th'ero, you are on vacation. You are not allowed to return to your duties as Weyrleader until you've had a damn break. Because you do everything on your own and get hurt in almost /every/ shardin' escapade you go on. And frankly, you work too damn much." The knot is then strapped on with her own knot and then she pins Kimmila with a look. "Make sure he actually rests. He can have his knot back in a sevenday… Or two."

Abigail shifts back while she watches the healers work on D'ani, she's quiet, curious, and filled with worry still. She moves a hand to let it rest lightly against D'ani's, giving it a faint squeeze even. Her attention goes to the healer and she nods once, then again as to what she is to do. "Aye, alright." She lets her free hand, fingers only, press where the healers say to press that gauze against the bronzerider's neck. As for him going home in someone's arms, she would never let anyone call him a damsel in distress! Niumdreoth lowers his head, offering soft croons to his rider, the brown isn't moving from his ever watchful spot.

Rest? That word is not in Th'ero's vocabulary in moments like these. Kimmila would know, as she has seen (too many times) how far he'll push himself before "resting". With her help, he sits up, though he grimaces, mouth twisting in discomfort and he promptly turns his body to favor one side. "Someone sharding fired an arrow at a rider?" he whispers harshly to Kimmila and clears his throat. "Yes, we do need him." The Weyrleader adds with a knowing look directed her way that drops whens he gives him a pointed one in return. Is that guilt in his expression? Oh yes, it is. "I had to stay. It was the only chance…" He's sorry? Unfortunately those words never get expressed openly (and for some to overhear!) because Dtirae is approaching and Th'ero's eyes turn to the Weyrwoman. Her news brings a fresh scowl to the Weyrleader's features, his lips drawn back in a grimace that is both disturbed and angered. This is also a way the bronzerider shows concern. "Shards!" he curses, "Why did he not say anything? Did Dremkoth relay anything of his rider's condition?" he asks, only to fall silent as Dtirae asks for Kimmila not to interfere. That's his first hint of trouble and he tenses when the Weyrwoman is moving in on him, one arm lifting as if to ward her off. Then she takes his knot, leaving Th'ero to simply blink, dumbfounded as she steps back. It's only when she is half way through her "punishment" that he finally recovers and begins to protest. Starting with a curse or two (or three) that only put him into a fit of coughing, not that that keeps him from talking for long. "It's not as though I injure myself on purpose!" he growls at Dtirae, only to grunt and hiss through his teeth, reaching to grip at his ribs as he starts to move, looking ready to stand again. But his body knows better and he only stumbles, likely tilting into Kimmila again if the bluerider hasn't moved far (or just lets him fall). "Who is to lead then?" Th'ero asks, glaring at Dtirae and where his knot is now pinned with hers as he takes a few shallow breaths, snorting weakly. Works too much! It's so true, but he's stubbornly denying it. "Now is not the time, shardit all!"

Kimmila blinks. "Why would you /assume/ I'd fight you?" she asks first, before looking to D'ani with relief. "Good." And as Dtirae speaks, Kimmila slowly grins. But then she frowns, sobering a bit. "As much as I want him to rest," because good Faranth does she ever, "I don't think now's the time, Dtirae. The weyr needs its weyrleader right now. Especially right now. There's so much to be done… I'll be sure he takes it easy and we'll take a vacation later but there's simply too much right now. Finding the other camps, making sure no one tries to step up into Laris' place and take control of his misguided empire…/that/ is my main concern. What other madmen are waiting in the wings? We need to root everyone out /now/, and Fort needs Th'ero for that." No offense?

Dremkoth has remained crouched close by where the healers were working on his rider. Now that they've moved on to other things, he creeps forward, stretching out his muzzle until it hovers a few feet above him, each breath he exhales, probably warming both D'ani and Abigail, and ending with a barely-audible groan. He isn't happy with this situation but he's no longer agitated. He is vigilant, oblivious of the rest of the mop-up (and dust-ups) going on nearby. D'ani remains out of it and likely will not stir even when he's put on a stretcher and carted back to Fort Weyr's infirmary with Dremkoth following anxiously.

"No, it isn't. But it isn't as if you have been taking precautions, either, have you?" Dtirae asks simply. She meets his gaze simply, expecting him to lash out. "I can lead, unless you think me so incapable of handling things?" Her gaze is challenging, along with her words. She looks to Kimmila and offers a very slight grin, "better safe than sorry." But, the Weyrwoman seems set on not giving the knot back as she doesn't move, even when the bluerider makes her case. "I can just as easily step into place in making sure this is handled. I've stayed back because that is what seemed to be best at this time. But right now, I feel that Th'ero is needing a break /because/ Fort needs him. I don't want my Weyrleader broken, incapable of moving past this. I would like him to be able to continue beyond this incident. So /please/, take you break now. I'll handle the rest and I will leave Inri in charge of the domestic things in the Weyr. And with that said, I think we must also consider a new Weyrsecond." This, is more directed towards Th'ero than the group. "Let me handle this, unless you both find me incapable then tell me who you would send in my stead. And it can't be you."

Niumdreoth settles at the other side so there is a circle of dragons around both Abigail and D'ani. The brown keeping his rider updated on things that are happening around them, along with working on trying to make sure Dremkoth is able to be kept eased after everything that has happened. Abigail sends a faint glance towards where Kimmila, Th'ero and Dtirae are found, but she can catch very little of what is going on, though she did see that someone did get a knot taken away. That, can't be good. Though she stays put with D'ani, unmoving that gauze and helps get him on the stretcher once they are able to take him back to Fort. She'll follow along when able and will be checking in on D'ani after the healers get done fussing over her, some of that blood on her is actually her's thanks to her taking the hard way down the rock face.

Th'ero just glowers at Dtirae, not caring for the moment who sees and witnesses the battle of wills on this side of the island. Laris is dead, his main stronghold in ruins, most — if not all — his holdless followers now in custody and this is his reward? Technically it IS a reward, who'd balk at an ordered vacation? An actual command to go off somewhere for a whole sevenday or two! He would and does, as he leans forwards again, hand clutching his ribs and at last he is able to get to his knees. Wobbling uncertainly for a moment, he then puts one leg out and then the other and somehow stands, though weaves as if drunk. He'll reach again for Kimmila, clasping her shoulder in a firm yet not so solid grip, glancing down at her with a faint look of surprise when she takes his side. Did he assume otherwise? "I've been taking precautions," Th'ero replies in a flat tone, eyes once more lifting to focus on Dtirae when he is not concentrating on staying upright. The challenge is noted and he bristles, but there is not much fight in him and his strength is rapidly waning. "I never said you were incapable! And I am far from broken," he points out, not realizing how silly that sounds when he's barely standing, clutching his side and still soaked through to the bone. But? "There is no one else." Th'ero mutters, but there is a sidelong glance to where D'ani lies, unconcious and being tended to by Abigail and the other Wingriders. His frown deepens and then his eyes dart back to Dtirae. "This is a mistake…" he adds and though he backs down for now it's clear from the look he gives the Weyrwoman that it is not the end.

One of the Wingriders will linger at least while transport is arranged and turning to Abigail, will no doubt begin to check up on her well being too before she departs to follow D'ani. Seems only fair, after all! There is a sense of finality to the island now, though much work lays ahead. The fight is over, which will be a relief to many and with Laris gone, it very well could be the end. Nothing will stay peaceful for long and with Dremkoth and D'ani being removed back to Fort Weyr, other Wingriders are seen departing too on their own tasks and orders. But that also means that the Wingleader of Thunderbird and likely the Guard Captain too will be seeking updates and new orders and soon there will be queries sent out. What now? Looks like the decision will be made for them concerning who steps up to tidy up the rest of this mess.

Kimmila bristles, reaching down to grip the bottom hem of her tunic. Is she going to flash the weyrwoman? It doesn't seem so, because as she pulls up the fabric she reveals - not her skin - but a thin yet strong piece of leather armor. "Precaution," she says swiftly as she gets to her feet and helps Th'ero up as well. "Sword practice, agonizing over every little detail, training, more sword practice, planning, pouring over maps, sweeps… How dare you say we haven't taken precautions? We've lived and breathed and /bled/ for this mission and we're not going to cop out at the very end because he fell off a cliff." Then she snorts, motioning to D'ani. "/That's/ who I want for Weyrsecond, but he went and got himself shot, the idiot." Green eyes focus back on Dtirae. "If you ban us from the weyr we'll just do work on our own. So either you let us do our jobs with your blessing or we'll do them without it. Either way we won't rest until this is /over/. Do you really think we even could? That we could just to lounge on a beach somewhere and leave this mess for others to clean up?" She's insulted at the implications that holds.

Dtirae doesn't back down at the note that precautions have been in place, but she doesn't argue that there hasn't been. "Then let me handle this. And what happens when you do break, Th'ero? What happens when you break when we need you most? Because you've never taken time to rest, to heal properly. What happens then?" She demands, "the Weyr struggles, I struggle, we have to find a replacement and it won't be someone who's good enough. It'll be someone who is simply okay. Not someone who is great. Not someone who I /trust/ to be Weyrleader." Not that trust has much to do with flights, for the most part. "I don't want anyone else as my Weyrleader." And that mask breaks just a little, concern settling into her features, worry, distress and she doesn't bother to hid it. "I don't care if it's a mistake now as long as it means you're able to continue later." As for Kimmila, there's an apology in her look but not voiced when the armor is revealed. "I know you've done so much for this. I /know/. And it's over. He's dead. All that's left is minor things and it can't get worse. Shard it all, you're both so stubborn and pigheaded. Take a break, go on vacation because /nothing/ else is going to happen. I don't intend to cut you off from this entirely, but you've both been working at this non-stop. I'm not just worried about Th'ero."

Abigail doesn't hang around long once getting the okay to return to Fort. Her arm is throbbing by now, and there was talk of it possible being sprain or even broken, which she clearly will blame the rocks for. Her gaze drifts back towards the three, she is curious more than anything. Niumdreoth is off in the air, heading towards homewards as soon as his rider is ready.

Th'ero turns his head to stare down at Kimmila, rendered speechless as the bluerider bristles and then openly tears at the Weyrwoman, along with the little shirt-lifting display. Leaning against the bluerider, his arm then lifts to slip around her shoulders for support. Not at all because he is hugging her to his side. Nope, of course not! But rather that chide Kimmila for being so brazen, the Weyrleader only looks touched for her fierce defense and pride. Coughing, Th'ero frowns heavily and drawn back to the situation he gives Kimmila a look that is both appreciative but also a warning. His eyes lift once more to Dtirae, but not to glare or to scowl as she stands her ground and states her case again. The Weyrleader can only grimace, not answering her questions as his gaze drops, jaw working silently as he struggles to get his rattled and muddled thoughts to work coherently. It doesn't help either that Dtirae's mask begins to break, leaving Th'ero to only shift awkwardly against Kimmila's side. What can he say to that? "I'm not going anywhere for a day or two at the most." he mutters at last, "At the very least, you can keep us informed. I'm not about to go skipping off somewhere while I've a seriously wounded rider, either. Once D'ani's health improves, then perhaps I will consider it." And that's still only a maybe! But it would seem as though Dtirae has won this round, as Th'ero no longer protests, save to lean further against Kimmila.

Again there are queries sent out and once gentle, they are now a bit more firm and insistent. What are the next steps? Everything is approaching a standstill, waiting on further instructions and commands. Any who try to ping Velokraeth are met with crypticness from the bronze, which soon has them seeking out Kouzevelth and Zuvaleyuth, if not anyone who will give a clear response. Other calls go out too: transport is needed, as well as volunteers to run supplies and any able bodied riders are asked to report in. For those roughed up, they'll find themselves relocated back to the Weyr and put to lighter duties there.

Kimmila isn't done yet. Where's that jello wrestling pit? "You can't undermine your Weyrleader's authority," she hisses. "It /weakens/ him and the perception he has in the weyr. If people think he's broken - if people think he can't do his job - that's more damaging to him than any fall into a lake. Yanking his knot sends the /wrong/ message, Dtirae. You say you want a great Weyrleader and you trust him, well then trust him to make his own decisions about when he wants to rest. We /will/, I can promise you that, but yanking his knot is /not/ the way to do it! You know what that /looks/ like to the rest of the weyr? Laris is gone and Th'ero got his knot yanked? Gossip's going to think he did something /horrible/ here today instead of finishing that man for good!"

"That's fine. I will keep you informed." Dtirae agrees with Th'ero, and then the knot is tugged very carefully from her own and she approaches again. "Yes," she agrees with Kimmila, "but, however, I know there is a time and a place for when I should undermine him." Perhaps, the knot was simply a bargaining chip as she's moving to hand the knot back to the bluerider as Th'ero is struggling to hold himself up. "I would like to request that the knot be returned when you take your vacation." So he can't sneak doing some duties while he's on his break. "For now, I will handle things here. Please get some rest." And then, the Weyrwoman is moving to assist with getting the area secured and the holdless transported to the Weyr for confinement in the prison until they can be dealt with as well as anything else the situation needs.

"Kimmila," Th'ero begins to protest… or is he protesting? It is hard to read what exactly the bronzerider is thinking and his frown does not look entirely annoyed or scolding. He says nothing further on the matter, words lost to another fit of coughs and a short, shallow breath to recover. He fixes Dtirae with another look the Weyrwoman approaches, cautious and uncertain for the woman's motives until she begins to unpin the knot. Relief is short lived, however, when it is turned over to Kimmila's hand, rather than his own. "Understood," is all he mutters in reply, sounding compliant and subdued when truthfully he is anything but. Once Th'ero has recovered his strength, there will no doubt be another stand off. For now, he leaves Dtirae to take over, satisfied at least with having his knot returned. Even he knows someone has to finish the task here at the island and with both himself, D'ani and most of the riders he trusts more or less out of commission, it truly only leaves the Weyrwoman and a few others to pick up the slack. "Best get this overwith," Th'ero murmurs in a low tone to Kimmila, his arm still draped over her shoulders. No sense lingering here, though he won't even admit now that he's leaving to do exactly as ordered by Dtirae: rest and recover. Velokraeth will join his rider at last, giving him a few careful (but rough) nudges and low rumbles near to a growl for all the hardship put on him. The pale bronze is relieved though and after some reassurance, Th'ero mounts up with difficulty but manages in the end with some reluctantly accepted help. Then Velokraeth springs aloft, likely to linger only as he waits upon Varmiroth before spiraling higher above the island and vanishing Between back to the Weyr.

Triumph! Kimmila takes the knot and shoves it into her pocket, but you can be sure she'll be giving it back to Th'ero the moment they have some peace. She nods, giving Dtirae a little smile before she turns to walk away with Th'ero. "Yes," she murmurs, giving him a swift hug. "And I want to stop and check in on D'ani and Abigail too…" But that will come in a little while, once they're back at the weyr. She mounts up onto Varmiroth, spending a few moments with the blue before he kicks into the sky and vanishes alongside the bronze.


'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.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License