Traveller's Forest North
Deep in the Fortian woods the air takes on a pure, unspoiled scent. Majestic, evergreen pines tower above you, nearly cutting off the view of the skies, and from the high canopy, a constant gentle rain of petals, leaves and pine needles falls no matter the time of day or season. The silence is broken only by an occasional rustling of foliage, an indefinable call or the distant flutter of wings. The ruins of an ancient building remain in the twisted growth of the forest that has long since taken it over, so passers by could only catch rare glimpses of rock sticking out of the growth that has consumed it. It's so easy to get lost here. To lose track of time, lose yourself or even lose your way.

Another day, another search. With the renegade known as Ustrr still at large with his band, the weyr has been on high alert and searches going night and day, this afternoon brings yet another search party into the skies over Fort's forests. Powder blue Varmiroth glides wingtip to wingtip with a much larger, flashier bronze, and Kimmila sits neat in the straps with a farviewer to her eye. Hanging from a strap around her neck in case she drops it, she squints into the distance as the sun begins to drop towards the horizon. « Mine thinks we should perhaps land and check a few things on foot, » Varmiroth suggests to his flying companion for the afternoon.

Zhirazoth is indeed a flashy bronze and one of the best and strongest! At least, that's what he's all to happy to boast on most days, but for now has his mind set on the task he and his rider are out here to perform and when he's put to a task, he does it WELL. No, not well… Good. Better. The Best! So he focuses and so does Mr'az, who sits forwards in his straps and scans the ground below. The result? A whole lot of nothing. « Should we continue flying while they search the ground? Cover both. Better chances. » Zhirazoth replies, already pleased with the suggestion.

Not far in the distance, a faint plume of smoke might be seen to rise from between a few towering evergreens - at least, that's Brennan's hope, and that's something, considering hope is something he's running low on at the moment. Waking in the morning had him feeling fit to die, his body stiff with injury and cold. The fire had died to embers at some point, but feeling the warmth on his face gave him just enough impetus to move, to stoke it back to life and warm the rest of him, even if he'd groaned and growled the entire time. Daylight revealed the traitorous tree he'd fallen with in greater detail, letting him know just how much bigger his fire could be made. He's been slowly increasing it's size for the past several hours, frustrated at not being able to get thicker smoke going but hoping it'll be noticed all the same. What he's recovered from his pack can't help him…and he really is too hurt to get very far.

Kimmila spots the smoke through her farviewer, stiffening in the straps. « Smoke, » Varmiroth says, all thoughts of landing here forgotten. « Be cautious, they might have crossbows, mine says. » And if there's one thing Kimmila hates, it's crossbows. He surges forward and up, intending to circle high above the smoke so Kimmila can get a good look through her farviewer. « Alert Velokraeth please. » An odd request? Why doesn't the blue do it himself?

Zhirazoth's focus snaps and refocuses immediately on the area to which Kimmila spotted the smoke. He rumbles deep in his chest and unseen his body tenses with anticipation, his wings sweeping just that much deeper and swifter. Now they have something! « I see. Good eye! Feh… » The flashy young bronze actually snorts to a chuffing sort of cough. « … I do not fear crossbows. We're better than crossbows. None shall harm us. Not while I am here! » An odd request? Maybe to any other, but Zhirazoth takes it as a compliment and totally in stride. Of course he can inform Velokraeth! He was totally just thinking of that himself and would be glad to do so… Meanwhile, Mr'az is likely swearing under his breath and giving his bronze a mental nudge to just DO IT already and focus back on the task. The bronze may not have noticed, but his rider does and he'll give Kimmila a curious (but unseen) glance through his goggles. Hmm. « It's done. We're to be cautious he says. » Again, the scoffing. As if they wouldn't be! « Niumdreoth's knows too. »

Well, Brennan had a crossbow. He hasn't been able to find it thus far and thinks it's probably up where he fell from. Even though his legs are mostly working, he isn't inclined to search for it. Any little thing gets to his shoulder and ribs, the work of growing his fire has exhausted him - in other words, he's done. Now that the blaze is large enough for the heat to reach to the foot of the scarp, the hunter is sitting against it, left arm tucked tight against his chest and legs stretched out in front of him. Breathing raggedly with the pain in his ribs, he rests his head back against the dirt, eyes lifting to the large patch of cold sky he can see above the trees. He thought there'd be a sweeprider passing overhead by now. Maybe there was, when he was too busy breaking branches to notice…but they wouldn't just do one pass, would they? He tries not to think about it too much.

Varmiroth rumbles a silent thanks, circling higher over the smoke. Kimmila squints through the farviewer, peering down into the trees. « Someone hurt, » Varmiroth relays, sharing the image as well, in stark, true detail. « It looks like just one. » There's hesitation, a silence, a debate, and then he returns. « We are going to land. You and yours stay aloft, keep a look out, in case there are others. In case it's a trap. » Because what better bait for Fort than an injured person? Varmiroth begins to circle downwards, looking for a place to land.

Zhirazoth's and Mr'az's protest come swift and almost instantaneous. « We'd be better suited to join you on the ground! I, » And the bronze means himself, in this case, « can fly above, but he, » Mr'az, « is trained specifically for this. If this one is wounded, why would this be a trap? Seems pointless and unnecessary. » Yet even as he scoffs at the idea he's puzzling over it. What if? That won't stop Zhirazoth from trying to follow Varmiroth down, however.

Brennan carefully tugs his pack a little closer, slowly undoing ties and rummaging deliberately down in the depths of it to get at a small bag of dried meat, which he sets to nibbling from. At least he's not wanting for food. Water may be another story soon…and that's a bigger concern. He kicks a twig over into the fire with his right leg…and stops as his ears pick up a heavy flap of wings. He glances up in time to see the flicker of a large form slide out of sight. Finally! He quickly sits forward to stash the meat back in his pack - and yelps when reminded just how much of a bad idea sudden movements are. Continuing more slowly, pulls the pack over, rather than moving from his seat. Nowhere to go just yet. His wait continues.

Varmiroth spots a small clearing not far from where the injured man is, and circles towards it. He considers Zhirazoth's suggestion, and finally agrees to it. « Fine. I will stay on the ground, ready to lift ours if it's a trap. You will circle above and keep a sharp eye out. » A blue ordering a bronze? Why yes. This isn't Velokraeth. Varmiroth does not fully trust this flashy, boastful bronze. He circles lower and then lands, quickly scooting out of the way to give room for Zhirazoth to land while Kimmila dismounts. She adjusts something beneath her clothes, grabs her bow and quiver, checks her daggers, and scans the area with bow half drawn. Peering through the woods, she thinks she can see a flicker of flames. "Identify yourself!" she hollers. No sense being silent or stealthy when dragons have landed. They're a bit of a giveaway.

Wise of Varmiroth not to wholly trust Zhirazoth, though the flashy boastful bronze is, in fact, completely trustworthy. If it came to be a trap, he'd do everything in his power to save ALL their hides (and the injured one!). He does not seem to mind being ordered by a blue, since he agrees with what is being ordered. It'd be a different matter if he disagreed. Then no one but his rider or a queen (or both) would stop him. « Mine will be the sharpest eye in the sky! » Zhirazoth answers as he swoops down to land, barely waiting long enough for Mr'az to dismount and unhook his gear before he's leaping skyward again. He's got his S&R gear with him, a utility knife and his own dagger but no bow like Kimmila's. If this turns out to be a show down with that weapon, he's already sorely underarmed. Still, he proceeds with caution, stepping quietly in line with Kimmila as they approach. Quiet, since she's gone and hollered out for the individual to identify themselves.

At first, the sound of brush cracking not far away alarms Brennan. Shardit, that damn porcine's back! That's just what he needs. But soon it's a much bigger sound, heavy, settling, and he breathes in relief. The sweepriders. It has to be. The shouting following shortly after confirms it, and the hunter takes a deep breath to shout back - only to have the pain accompanying the act force his voice out in a loud, ragged groan. He tries again, gritting his teeth. "Name's Brennan!" he hollers roughly, having to catch his breath for a moment before exerting himself to it again. "Hunter! Just a hunter! Just me here!" It leaves him gasping for breath, his head rolling against the side of the scarp as he evens himself back out. Faranth, please don't make me do that again.

Kimmila glances over to Mr'az, sizing him up for a moment before she nods, and then moves forward. Brennan. "Familiar with that name?" she murmurs aside to Mr'az as she moves into the trees, hyper alert and constantly watching and moving. "Where are you from?" she calls as she approaches, slowly…taking her time. Perhaps painfully so. She hears the pain in the hunter's voice but she doesn't rush forward. No, she's had too many hard lessons for that. She scans the trees.

Mr'az likewise sizes Kimmila up, having known of the bluerider but never actually been out with her on sweeps before. The half smile he gives her is tense but amiable enough and soon fades into a grimace. He shakes his head, "Nope. Doesn't ring a bell at all." he admits honestly and in a lowered voice. He'll inch along with her, eyes scanning the underbrush and trees for any concerning signs (or hints of what may have happened). He can hear the pain in Brennan's voice too and when he realizes Kimmila isn't rushing forwards, he makes an impatient sound and does it himself, unless Kimmila stops him. Not quite a full out rush forwards, Mr'az will none the less hurry it up but keep his body in a lowered stance. Just in case! Should nothing happen, the bronzerider's goal is obvious: reach Brennan's side and assess his injuries. "Well, hunter Brennan," Mr'az greets, slightly breathless, when he's close enough, eyes scanning the immediate area and then the young hunter himself. "You're hurt? How'd this happen and how long have you been out here?"

Brennan lets out a pained, humorless chuckle. The lady rider is a smart one for being cautious; he'll give her that. "Everywhere!" he calls back, taking time to catch his breath again. He's not trying to be flippant; he hasn't been tied to any one place for several Turns, but it hurts more to try explaining that than to give a one word answer. Even so, he gathers himself again and tries to elaborate a little more…and then the other rider comes into view, much to his relief. "Wouldn't be sittin' around if I weren't," the hunter replies gruffly, though there's wary gratitude in his eyes. "Got knocked off the cliff up there by a wild porcine yesterday afternoon. Tree I was in and all. You, ah…wouldn't happen t' know how t' reset a shoulder, would ya?" Not that he's looking forward to that, but it'll be a far sight better than leaving it as is.

Kimmila grunts in surprise and then swears under her breath when Mr'az goes charging forward. Isn't this the one Nyalle prefers as a mate? You'd think she'd choose smarter… Kimmila pauses that train of thought. No, this guy is perfect for Nyalle. She snorts, and approaches, keeping Mr'az covered. She barely glances at Brennan, though she does look up and wince in sympathy at his story. "That was dumb," she mutters, scanning the trees, the ground, the sky.

Mr'az may not be smart for his headlong rush, but this is what he's trained for. He saw (or heard) a victim who needed help and so he's going in to help! He's not like Kimmila or some of the other Thunderbird Wingriders. His strength is not in stealth and defensive struggles. They searched, they found someone… not the renegades they were looking for, but an injured hunter who needs their help! "Alright, point taken." Mr'az chuckles dryly and faintly in response to Brennan, only to suck his breath through his teeth and exhale heavily when he explains what happened. Lifting his eyes, he squints up at the cliff, only to look back to Brennan and nod. "We're all taught the basics. Just the shoulder then?" he asks, only to pause and glance up at Kimmila, brows knit in a frown. Not helping? "You mind lending a hand here, Wingrider Kimmila? Brennan, you alright if I touch your shoulder?" Only fair to ask?

At first, Brennan thinks the bluerider might be commenting on his own activities and scowls faintly at her before realizing this might not be the case. Another scrunching up of his eyes erases the expression before he's looking back at the bronzer. "Ribs, too," he answers with a short shake of his head. "Reckon not all the cracking I heard yesterday was branches. Probably m' knee, too, but it isn' too bad." To the bronzerider's last question, he nods. "More alright than if y' don't," he grates, wincing as he tries to sit up a little more.

Kimmila was, actually, talking about Brennan's fall. It was dumb. She looks sharply at Mr'az, frowning. "And put down my bow?" Is he crazy? She looks at Brennan though and frowns, and then heaves a sigh. "Fine," she mutters, walking forward and crouching down, setting her bow within arm's reach. "You watch our backs," she says firmly to Brennan. "Have you seen anyone else out here? Any tracks or signs of anyone?"

"No renegades here," Mr'az mutters, meaning only for Kimmila to hear it but Brennan is likely to overhear it too given how close the bronzerider is in proximity to the hunter. So yes, he expects the bluerider to put away her bow and when Brennan tries to sit up, he'll help him. Carefully, Mr'az will examine the young hunter as best he can with his hands and through the layers of clothing. "Hurts to breath?" he asks, given Brennan's mention of ribs. They'll find out about the knee soon enough. Mr'az has to keep from rolling his eyes when Kimila begins to pelt Brennan with questions. "Hold him steady, will you? Brennan, brace yourself as best you can. This is liable to be… uncomfortable." Understatement? Mr'az will wait until all are ready before he takes a firm grip of Brennan's shoulder and wrenches it back into place. Not exactly the smoothest of procedures but… it'll get the job done.

Fortunately, Brennan is none the wiser about being the target of Kimmila's observation, otherwise he'd probably say something that might get him left here. "Watching's what I do, lady bluerider," is the hunter's thinly smiled counter, and then he's back to bracing and gritting his teeth as he lets himself be handled. "There was another hunter. Porcine was after him first, so I shot. Told 'im to get lost. He took off west, I think; didn't get a good look after the sharding thing got after me. Hadn't seen anyone else out here for a whole syeeaAAAAGH!" Brennan's roar as the bronzerider sets his shoulder back in place resounds loud enough to startle a small flock of avians from the nearby stand of pines. His head thumps back against the side of the scarp, tanned skin gone pale, and whether or not he's still conscious might be questionable by his silence and shut eyes. "Thank you," he breathes finally. "Thank you. Owe y' one, bronzerider." His eyes open again, but for the moment, they remain trained on the sky above.

Kimmila eyes Mr'az, about to argue with him, but instead she keeps her mouth shut. Her hands are steady and firm as they reach out to hold Brennan steady. Gentle, even, but firm enough to get the job done. She's nodding to what he says, and she winces when his shoulder is set. She's been there. She knows. "Can you stand? Ride?" More questions, but since his shout she's eying the area around them. "We should get him back to the Weyr. To the Healers," she murmurs to Mr'az. "He can ride on Varmiroth. In his paw might be best…"

Mr'az winces and grimaces and once Brennan's done with his roaring, he mutters a sincere: "…sorry about that, lad." No, really, he means it! It had to be done, but it doesn't mean the bronzerider wanted to see (or hear him) in discomfort. "Nah, just doing what I do. Part of my duty, to come help folk who get in a pinch of trouble. Isn't that right, Kimmila?" he murmurs, glancing sidelong to the bluerider and then nodding his head. "Yeah, we best be getting back. Zhirazoth's telling me that Velokraeth's just about in a tizzy about this discovery." Meaning the flashy bronze likely forgot some details in his relaying, caught up as he was in doing a live play-by-play of the events. "If you think Varmiroth can hold him steady… but, before we even get to that…" He's looking to Brennan now, his expression warm and amiable but there's a seriousness to it too. "Brennan, you been a'dragonback before? Think you can mount up with assistance or would you be comfortable going the way Wingrider Kimmila suggested? You'd be perfectly safe, either way."

"Mmmm," is Brennan's eloquent thought on the matter of riding a dragon right now, and his head falls heavily back to front in order to eye first Kimmila, then Mr'az. "Can probably stand. I've never ridden before…" He swallows. "Or been carried, but I don' care how I get outta here, long as it sets me on the path t' some fellis." Realizing that's eminently unhelpful, he frowns and reaches up to rub his forehead. "Let's see how I am at standin'. Decide from there. But, uh…" He gestures at the still-crackling fire. "Oughta try gettin' this out first, right? No need to go burnin' down a perfectly good hunting spread."

Kimmila pushes to her feet, and she's quick to claim the 'killing the fire' job, grabbing her bow and seeming to relax a bit more when she's got it in her hand. She'll let Mr'az - clearly the more compassionate of them both right now - handle helping Brennan to his feet.

"I've got numbweed, but that'd take time," Mr'az admits with a grimace. Not to mention Brennan would have to get under all his clothes for the ointment to work…too much hassle at this point. He'll watch as Kimmila takes care of the fire, snorting softly at the blue rider's sudden silence and he shifts his weight, bracing his knees and legs as he offers his arm to the injured hunter. "Alright, then. Let's see if I can't help you up by your good arm and side, here…" he murmurs and per his training he'll do his best to help Brennan to his feet but not aggravate his injuries further. "Bright side in all of this is that we'll be flying straight. We're not so far from the Weyr. Eh, Kimmila?"

Leaning heavily on the offered support Mr'az offers, Brennan bares his teeth as he slowly rises, favoring his right leg. Fully upright, he sets his left foot down, applies some weight…and finds it not to be as painful an experience as he thought it might be. One small step, then another. Yes, it appears he can shuffle along - a bit like an old uncle, but it's better than nothing. "Well," he grunts, "this is a good sign…but I think it might be more trouble 'n it's worth tryin' to get me up on a dragon's neck. Probably better just to have me carried." It's a stoic face he puts on past the lingering pallor of pain; he doesn't like the idea, but no one's ever accused him of being an impractical man, and this is what seems most practical to him. He watches Kimmila putting out the fire for a moment, glances between her and Mr'az, and shrugs - only to wince mightily afterward. At least he can shrug now, even if it's an agonizing thing. "I'm all yours, riders," he says, resigned as he reaches down to take up his pack with his good arm. "Lead the way."

Kimmila walks back over but keeps her eyes moving all the time, scanning the area around them. "Flying straight, yes," she agrees. "Zhirazoth will have to inform the weyr and the wings that someone else will have to pick up this sweep." She looks at Brennan, then scans the trees once more. Fidgeting. Eager to be away. She does reach out to try and take his pack from him though. That she can do, before she turns and strides off through the trees.

Mr'az seems to come to the same conclusion as he continues to help support Brennan, even with the few tentative and shuffling steps. "That's the spirit!" he tells him with a vague and crooked smile. "You're handling this better than most would, I'll have to tell ya." He'll let Brennan go then to collect his belongings, though the bronzerider hovers close by just in case. "Zhirazoth's already on it. Velokraeth says Th'ero wishes to meet us…" Oh joy, the Weyrleader? Mr'az tries not to smirk at this, though he's giving Kimmila a lingering look. Maybe he's catching on that Zhirazoth is doing an awful lot of relay? "Think you can walk on you're own? We can take it slow. Come on then," he says to Brennan. "We'll get you settled with Varmiroth and into the Infirmary and to that fellis you mentioned and proper care by our Healers. Weyrleader Th'ero may be wanting a word with you, but don't worry… he doesn't bite." Much. Then a thought occurs to Mr'az and maybe his rambling is part to distract Brennan while they follow Kimmila. "So you're a hunter for Fort Weyr then?"

"Isn't the first time I've been hurt," Brennan says, appreciative of the bronzerider's positivity but not outwardly showing it - mostly because he can't. In fact, he's got a perpetual scowl going as he tries to focus past it. "Just the worst I've been…" He wavers. Maybe he's not going to be handling this as well as he - or Mr'az - thinks. His pack is handed off to Kimmila with a grunt and a grateful tip of his chin. Finding his balance again, he nods. "I'll get there. Slow's the way." He doesn't hear much else of what's being told to him as he concentrates on putting one foot forward, then the other. "Hunter for myself," he grunts in reply, "to trade with whoever. Or for whoever pays. Not tied to any one place…" Again, he wavers. Hopefully those dragons aren't too far away; he looks to be fading fast!

Kimmila snorts when Mr'az says Th'ero doesn't bite, a slow, almost sly smirk spreading across her lips. Stepping into the clearing, she's met by her powder blue lifemate, Varmiroth's muzzle down to nudge her gently until he looks past to Mr'az and to Brennan, sniffing softly and shifting his weight. The blue will move forward then, opening a paw and lowering it down towards Brennan with a soft rumble. "Just climb in there and settle in however is most comfortable," Kimmila says, nodding to her dragon's paw. "Don't worry, you'll be perfectly safe." She's holding out a riding belt as well, and once he's wearing it she'll clip him to Varmiroth's chest strap - just in case.

"And hopefully the worst you'll ever be injured," Mr'az goes on to add, ever positive even if his expression doesn't seem quite as chipper. He'll listen to Brennan, but he's keeping a sharp eye on the hunter and when he begins to consistently waver, the bronzerider will step in to help him, whether he wants it or not. "So a wanderer and a trader of sorts, then?" he murmurs, tucking that tidbit away for later. That'll be something Th'ero will be seeking, no doubt, about Brennan. "Hang on, we're almost there." Mr'az offers by way of encouragement to Brennan, only to quirk a brow at the slow and almost sly look from Kimmila. What? With Varmiroth readied, Mr'az will help the bluerider in getting Brennan settled and secured, though he'll take a moment to check again with their charge. "All set? Won't be long of a flight, but if you need us to land, just gesture…" Mr'az will demonstrate the signal. "And we'll see it. Kimmila? Whenever you're ready," He'll step away then to get his gear fastened to Zhirazoth's straps and then himself mounted up and buckled in again, as the flashy bronze rumbles, sounding almost a touch impatient.

Quietly, Brennan follows Kimmila's instructions, awkwardly getting the riding belt around his waist before actually taking a good look at the dragon towering over him. "Shells," he breathes, having to clutch at Mr'az's shoulder to keep from falling backward as he cranes his neck. The wave of exhaustion that washes over him reminds him of the task at hand, however, and he climbs into the gigantic blue paw, finding the most comfortable position to be curled up on his right side. He manages a nod to the bronzerider's last, but once they're off the ground, the combination of pain, exhaustion, and the shock of this new sensation of being in the air proves too much, and the hunter passes out cold. Back at the Weyr, they'll be having to drag his not-inconsiderable bulk into the infirmary. He'll apologize later. For now, Fort Weyr has itself one lucky, mysterious woodsman on their hands. What more will they learn when he's awake?