The Journey Home! Sort Of (Survival Camp)

Wilderness - Rolling Plains

From the petrified forest, you emerge onto a stunning landscape, wide open as far as the eye can see. Long grasses sway in the mild breeze that blows constantly here. Far away, a stone outcropping rises up against the horizon.

And so it is that the candidates were broken up into groups, and dropped in random places around the wilderness surrounding the survival camp. Fun. With only a compass and a backpack of supplies. More fun. Their instructions? Find their way back to camp. Alone. Even more fun. Joy.

Rio, Osric, and Avani had ended up together, and before the sun rose, they were packed up and taken into the woods somewhere at random. No looking. Avani had been the one who'd been the most familiar with the function of the compass, so she'd been elected to be in charge of the device.

"Such fun, huh?" Rio drawled sarcastically as the three of them finally get to where they can begin, after the sun rises. They hadn't been able to see how they were getting out here, and had been taken for several twists and turns during the journey. "I hope one of you remembers the way back. Or at least knows where the place is from here…." Because Rio sure doesn't.

If there was one word used to describe Osric since they came to the camp it would be tired. For some reason best known only to himself he had been nervous since the sudden move out to the wilds, and anyone that pressed him on the issue was given the simple excuse of him not wanting to wake up with something biting him. Now here in the wilderness he yawns and looks around, trying to get his bearings and failing miserably, "Wasn't there any instructions or anything? Which way did they leave?" Another yawn is stifled before he ruffles his hair, making it even more of a mess than usual.

The bags beneath Avani's eyes have faded swiftly in the short time since they have left the Weyr and returned to the wilderness she once traveled so often. Thor has been excitable and is not on his usual perch but rather flitting about above the trio of humans, warbling and crooning his excitement. "Yes, yes, Lordling," the young woman murmurs, "I never did get to go for a Run since I'd impressed you, had I?" Looking at her companions, Avani give a shrug. "From the feel of the slant of the ground, and the scents for crushed grasses, I'd assume we'd come from that direction. But we were told the Camp is to the west." She glances down at the compass, before pointing in the general direction of her right. "Which is that way."

"They just said not to backtrack, but to find our own way back to camp, that's all," Rio answers Osric. He's not as sleepy looking, mainly since he's accustomed to not having much sleep. "I'm not exactly the best at directions. I manage not to get lost, but still, I'm not gifted." Only what he's seen in the books he's read. Avani makes her comment and he grins. "Oh! That's right, you were a Runner, weren't you?" he comments. "Lucky! We'll be back at camp in no time! Probably be waiting for everybody else to come back." Flatterer much? Nah. But it's always wise to pay the one with the compass and knowledge of how to get back some praise where it's due.

Osric just looks confused as Avani talks about the ground, but smiles over at her and tries his best to cover up that fact. Rio gets a nod, but it's quickly followed with the question, "Would they know if we did? We could always go round the camp a bi when we find it so that it looks like we did it properly." When Avani says west and points he looks in that direction, then in the direction of the nearby petrified forest. "Could climb a tree and see if we can see things?"

Avani nods at Rio's comment, "I was a Runner for a time, yes. I shall miss it greatly." She shakes her head and motions around, "Things are easier here, without anyone seeking to prove their dominance with politics or punishment." She takes a few strides towards the west, then turns to regard the others. "If we had a proper Trace, and you both had experience in Running, then we would make it quickly, but I suggest caution as this is an unknown area. There might be tunnelsnakes, or wild wherries. Though I suspect Thor might be able to frighten them off." She almost absently reaches up a hand to rub at the scar on her right ear as she speaks of wherries, but her gaze drops down to the compass, which she then places into a pouch on her belt.

Rio wrinkles his nose at Osric's suggestion of circling around. "I'm betting they'd know, what with their dragons being able to talk to them up here." He tapped his temple. "Besides, that would be cheating," he states. Then he brightens suddenly. "I like it!" He snickers. He looks in that direction as Osric points, and nods. "That could work." He can climb okay. Avani's statement earns a slight frown. "I hope so. Politics are /nasty/." Even though he hasn't had much experience with them, he's seen the results. Rio also nods when she cautions them about the unknown area and wild animals, though he grimaces a little. "Yeah…was trying to forget about that. Can't afford not to concentrate, and I don't want to think about all the awful things that can happen to us out here."

Osric frowns at the mention of politics, almost resisting the urge to nod in agreement though there's still a slight bob of his head. The talk of animals and danger makes him frown even more, "They wouldn't have dropped us out here if it was really dangerous. They're probably expecting us to walk round in circles all day and then call for help."

Avani shrugs a shoulder, "I think you are putting yourself up for the greatest possible danger and pain should you Impress and survive your Lifemate. Also, I'm not sure that your interests are foremost in the WeyrlingMaster's mind, nor that of his Assistants. Obviously, he is the sort to only care about obedience, and not respect. I do not suppose that many of his charges keep in contact with him post Graduation." Yes, she's a might annoyed with the fact that she accepted Standing at a Weyr and is treated worse than if she'd accepted a husband chosen by her Father, but there seems to be a light at the end of it all: those who Impress Graduate. And they no longer have to deal with V'dim's whims. As for Osric's other comment she frowns, lifts her chin and shakes her head firmly. "We will not be wandering all day, nor will we be calling for help. Camp is to the west and if one of you wishes to climb a tree to check for wherries, feel free." Thor chitters and flaps his wings, climbing up towards the nearest treetop, his head turning about in exaggerated ways to check each branch for the wild avians.

Whomever dropped Phylicia and her little companions off is obviously in need of a re-briefing. Either that or by the flushed look to little Litze's cheeks, they've been wandering for awhile. Phy however has the hood to her coat down, and is apparently deemed worthy to watch over some of the youngest of the candidate group, because Jammar is also with her. The come from the south, whatever lies that way. And Jammar is being annoyingly hyper, as usual. "If you keep running ahead like that, fall and sprain something, I will /not/ be sorry." Her voice comes, carrying across the grassy plains.

Rio nods to Osric's statement. "Oh, probably," he agrees. "There's a lesson to be learned in failure, after all; they're probably expecting us to learn humility." He grins. Apparently that's not going to happen with Rio. His reply to Avani's statement confirms it. "He didn't say we /would/. Just that they probably /expected/ us to. Not gonna happen, even if I have to tame a wild feline and ride it back into camp myself." Indomitable spirit, if nothing else, even if that particular execution of it is completely impractical. "And actually? I can see your point, Avani," he agrees, of her noting of their treatment. "Like I said — they're expecting us to learn humility. And probably obedience, like you said. I find obedience is usually easier, even if you do stick your tongue out at them behind their backs." He snickers. Phylicia's appearance with Jammar draws his attention, and he snickers again at the tone of her voice. He doesn't call out, but raises a hand to wave at Phylicia, to draw her attention over to them.

Osric laughs a little, "Humility?" he makes no further comment, simply shaking his head and grinning. even with Avani's chastisement the smile doesn't fade, "Of course we won't be wandering all day, we have you." Phylicia's arrival causes a, perhaps welcome, distraction. "Well at least we know we don't go that way. Are you sure of the way Avani?" Another glance in Phylicia's direction, though his attention is more focused on her companions, "Because right now I'd follow you to Ista if you could get us back to camp."

The tree trunk search is brought to a sudden stop as Thor hears new arrivals and drives down, opening his wings to swoop around Jammar's head at the last second. The lad pauses in his dash and turns a few times to try and keep his eyes on the bronze firelizard. Finally though, he lifts a hand to his head and shakes it. "Thor, you're making me dizzy…" He blinks and looks up, "Oh, hey!" There's a grin for the other Candidates which is echoed by Avani's thin-lipped smile. "We didn't find the Camp, but we found other Candidates! Does that count?" Avani shakes her head and moves over towards the newly arrived. "Rio and Osric were just going to decide which tree to climb, though the Camp is to the west, and that's that way." She points towards the thicker sections of forest nearby.

Phylicia notes Rio's wave, and she responds with one of his own. Phylicia may be small herself, but somehow the 13 turn-old Litze manages to be smaller. The two ladies are taking their careful time approaching the group, making sure neither of them sticks their foot into a burrow of any kind. All of a sudden, a trio of 'lizards - a blue, brown, and gold - come darting from the way of the trees, chirping and trilling. "I know." Phylicia says to Avani with a friendly enough smile for the three of them. "Hinae and the boys have been scouting inside the forest for me." And as she notes the three zooming towards them she grins. "It looks like they found a passable spot." There's a momentary pause as she starts to reach for her hood to pull it back up. "The vegetation in there is … thick." Gee, maybe because no one tries to keep it in check beyond animals?

Rio shrugs. "Hey I'm just following orders," he defends. "If you know the way, there's no need in climbing the tree, right? Unless we want to see how far?" Pause. "Do you know how far?" he asks of Avani. She seems like she's got more idea of anyone else here, so he'll ask her. He nods to Osric's observation. "Even if we didn't. No way I'm giving up." He grins. He nods to Phylicia's remark. "All right, everybody in agreement we go that way?" he inquires, pointing to the west. He'll pick up and follow when everyone else heads that way.

Osric just shakes his head as Avani mentions the tree idea again, though refrains from actually commenting this time. "Hey Phy." The young candidates get a brief nod, but little more, "That way seems as good as any, especially if things would be hard going over there." He nods in the direction Phylicia’s fair came from.

Avani nods, "We're decided then?" And without another word she's heading in that direction, Thor swoops down to perch upon his mistress' shoulder, looking about with interest as she ducks under the first tree limb.

Phylicia pauses as Avani ducks under that first branch and half sighs. "She's almost as bad as Jammar, in her own way." She grumbles faintly to the three left with her as Jammar follows Avani into the forest. Speaking of talking behind backs… "Just promise me you three will be careful at least?" She asks as she jerks her hood up to protect her eyes from the dappled light in the forest as she starts off. Her trio don't perch anywhere on her, but instead take to the trees again, spreading out in a wide sort of triangle pattern to keep a watch for hidden drop offs, or unfriendly visitors. "Now I know why Ten doesn't like visitors much." That one is definitely to herself, as she ducks under that branch, tugging her gloves on.

Rio nods to Osric's observation, but does not speak. He follows Avani as she sets off to the west, ducking under vegetation, tree branches, vines, snakes, and whatever else is in his way. Or stepping over it. He's taking careful steps so he can't be tripped or taken off guard. "Come on. We'll show 'em!" he crows encouragingly. Though he's actually going to stay behind Phylicia so that he can help her keep her younger companions from running off too far.

Osric initially hangs back, keeping to the rear of the group, though as they begin to duck under branches he slowly edges forwards intent on putting at least one person behind him just in case. Lifting a hand to stop a branch from slapping back into his face he pauses, "Shouldn't we tie ourselves together or something? So that nobody gets lost? Or is that just for going down cliffs?"

"Cliffs," Avani agrees as Jammar nods and makes to rush ahead. "Oh, Jammar," the young Lady-Holder-to-be offers, her voice carrying above the rustling of the branches and leaves in the wind, "I meant to ask if you would be willing to keep to the back of the group? Perhaps flag down any other groups of Candidates you might see? But don't lose track of the group, okay?" The lad nods with a grin and steps to a side, bouncing on the ball of his feet until the group's past, then following, turning around from time to time to check for other people.

Litze is - and always has been - one of those shy, quiet types who rarely speaks, even when spoken to. Today is no different as she follows the group in silence, stuck somewhere between Phy and Rio. Phylicia continues to follow Avani, though she lengthens her stride momentarily to put herself just behind the candidate-Lady-Holder. "How often have you navigated in thick forests before?" She asks, only sending occasional glances behind her to make sure the rest of the group is still with them. The bit of delegation to Jammar has her grinning however. A good way to keep the hyper one from trouble.

Rio remains behind Avani, probably more the one being watched than the one doing the watching. Surprisingly he doesn't say much on the trip, maybe he's just concentrating on the 'trail' ahead. Not that there even is one. But it's not long until the sound of rushing water starts to carry through the air. And before long they're at the banks of a river. "…Do we want to go around? Or over?" There's probably some kind of rope assembly put there to cross, but it's probably little more than two ropes suspended over the river….

Osric seems to relax a little once there's someone behind him, muttering something about 'now he won't be first'. He pays for the comment almost immediately as a branch swings back and nearly catches him in the mouth, instead there's a flurry of leaves and he emerges with a vaguely sheepish look on his face. he remains mostly silent after that, pausing on through the trees with as little vocal complaint as possible, though it's a fair guess that internally he's cursing every step. When the river finally comes in view he blinks, letting go of the branch he was holding almost without thinking. "If they call that a bridge then I think we have problems."

Avani gives a slight shrug to answer Phylicia's question, "In the Southern lands, the Traces are often overrun or washed out. I've had experience running through this sort of landscape, but don't think it would be safe to keep such a pace unless you were all Runners as well." When she begins to hear the water, she pulls out the compass from her pouch and frowns. When they reach the shore, due west is on the other side. "We've been going west, not counting a few sidesteps around a few trees, but we might miss the river if we attempt to go around this…" She glances about and frowns as she spots something in the distance which may just be some sort of rope construct of some sort. Though 'construct' might be too impressive a description for the affair. She nods in agreement to Osric's comment and looks to the others. "I could as Thor to fly across, and wait for us. That way, once we found another way over the water, we would have a set point to return to in order to find our path… The only issue is that I have never been more than a handful of miles from Thor before, so I am not sure how strong our bond might be if we need to travel past that point."

Phylicia keeps her mouth clamped shut on whatever response Avani's answer prompts from her. She does come to a halt next to her. The river gets a slightly distasteful look, and the pair of ropes are eyed. "Well, it would give us something to hold onto at least?" She points out. "If there's a pair of ropes here, it probably means its a safe point to cross at." Yes, getting wet isn't at the top of her list, but without another word, her blue and brown shoot off in opposite directions, each going a separate direction down the length of the river to see if there is an easier crossing spot within reasonable walking distance.

Rio looks at the rope 'bridge'. "This shouldn't be too hard to get across," he comments. At least, it doesn't look that tough. "Just put your feet on the bottom rope and hang onto the top rope." He turns and looks to the group. "See! We can get across! Nothing to worry about." Optimistic, isn't he? But then…he's not making any move to start across….

Avani misses any facial expressions as she continues to eye the rope. Finally, Thor pushes off from her shoulder and flies to the other side, keeping very near the top rope before making a graceful turn and returning, nearly skimming the surface of the water as he looks at the lower rope. When he returns to perch on his mistress' shoulder, she nods and puts the compass in her pouch once more. "I'll go first then," she not so much offers as states, moving forward. "Oooh! I'm next!" Jammar calls, moving into the group from his 'post' near the back.

Osric is happy to take the rear this time, staring at the two rope set-up as if it might snap at any second and drag him into the water anyway. Turning sideways he tries to set in his head how to hold on properly, preferably without screaming like a two turn old, but as Avani steps up to go first he grins, "Ladies first."

Phylicia merely watches Avani as the other young lady moves forward, a very slight frown pulling at her lips. Phy apparently has that same thought about the rope snapping, since even after two others cross, she's testing the tautness of the rope before she's sliding sideways across it. By this point in time, Ciaran and Estevan are returning to her, as silent as can be besides for the flapping of their wings. As each perches on her shoulders for a moment, she gives them a brief caress before shooing them off again, sending them further west to see if anymore such little surprises wait for her, as Litze follows her next across the ropes. Inside, Phylicia is enjoying all of this, though if one were to look at her serious face, that might be called into question.

Avani's way is made slowly, and she's given Jammar's a warning glare to keep him from following until she's fully across. Even then, Thor hovers above the lad as he makes his way over and she offers him a hand as he reaches the side. Of course, they're amongst the lightest of the group, so the Runner-Holder-Candidate watches the remaining Candidates and calls Thor to her shoulder, not wanting him to distract them with his impression of a brooding queen.

Rio waits until everyone else crosses, perhaps to make sure it's safe, before crossing himself. Of course, he tells himself he's just watching to make sure everyone else, especially the ladies, get across first. Yeah, that works. Even still, it takes him a moment before he climbs up onto the rope. He clings, er, rather tightly, his upper body almost leaning over the top rope, as he shimmies across. Slowly. And does he look scared? Nah, he's not scared! He's about three-quarters of the way across when the top rope, the one he'd been leaning most of his weight on, snaps! "AAAH!" Luckily, two things work in his favor. Firstly, the rope breaks at the end closest to the side of the river they just left; secondly, that he's fast enough to cling arms and legs to the top rope. What ends up happening is that Rio ends up swinging the rest of the way across, screaming all the way. Until its quite rudely interrupted…by him faceplanting into a tree. The impact knocks him off the rope and he falls at the base of the tree. He has one thing to say about his rather abrupt trip. "…Ow." Short and sweet.

Osric was lucky on his way over, just the one extra wobbly moment when he said a string of words that would not usually be spoken within the hearing of anyone, never mind some young ladies that he has to share a camp with. Land was greeted as an old friend while he turned to watch Rio coming over. The snap from the rope brings forth another curse, though it's quickly drowned by Rio's yelling. Though he's quick to hurry over he is no healer, and keeps a safe distance. Waiting to make sure that Rio's still breathing before commenting, "In a hurry?"

Phylicia, however, is a healer. And she's probably one of the first over to Rio's side as he faceplants into that tree. "You know, usually people don't take the term 'tree hugger' quite so to heart." She teases him as she starts to reach out, looking - at first - for any of the more obvious, physical injuries. "How do you feel, Rio?" Comes the expected question.

Avani dashes over, eyes wide, as Thor swoops from her shoulder to check on Rio. "Are you alright?" she asks, almond shaped eyes nearly rounded in her surprise. For his part, Jammar seems unconcerned, Rio spoke, didn't he? "I sure hope no other groups are dropped on that side of the river."

Rio is indeed breathing, though he's looking a little confused. Which is probably understandable given what just happened. He's laying sprawled on his back at the base of the tree, blinking. Osric's words bring him to tilt his head back and look at the other candidate upside-down. "Uh…I wasn't, no. But apparently the rope was," he comments. He stands as Phylicia reaches him (if she'll allow it). "I'm fine," he stands dusting off his rear (which doesn't really help, because his WHOLE BACK ended up on the ground). "I suppose the tree just really loved me. Or the rope thought it should play matchmaker with the tree, because the tree was lonely," he suggests. He nods to Avani. "They'll have to shimmy across the one rope, then." Which is possible. But not really safe.

Osric chuckles, moving over to offer a hand up even though it appears unneeded. "Least we're not gong to have to carry you back to camp. You can walk, right? Because I don't think Avani could carry you too far." He grins, presumably joking, though adds slightly more seriously, "Which way's west Avani?"

Avani glances up, spotting one of the riders who are doing sweeps, but as Rio seems to be okay, she doesn't send Thor to get their attention. "West is that way," she reminds Osric, pointing once more away from the river along the path they have been following for a while. Nevertheless, she becomes a bit more silent, perhaps feeling some sort of responsibility for the group's safety which she failed to ensure.

Phylicia isn't up for any undue fussing today. As Rio stands, she lets him though her eyes watch him like a hawk hunting a bit of prey. She'll be watching for any sort of disorientation or obvious unstableness. With everyone over and Rio apparently alright, minus a bleeding nose (for which she produces a scrap of cloth and instructions to pinch the area just below the bridge of his nose) she's starting off without waiting this time, her trio once again taking off in front of her, as she starts to follow, taking point this time as Avani lapses into a sort of silence, not that she's much better. "You let me know if you feel a bit off or anything, Rio." She calls back to him. Yes, the five foot even girl doesn't want to attempt to carry anyone. "Carrying people is one thing I don't do well. You'd end up being dragged." Never mind the fact they could probably rig /something/ up.

Rio smirks to Osric. "Nah, I'm too heavy," he states, offering a wink to Avani. "Though I can't say I'd mind!" He quickly knows when enough is enough though, and as Osric asks his question, he looks to Avani with a more serious look. He nods as she points the way they were going. "Right. Thought so, but my brain went scattered when I kissed the tree." He grins. Looks like he's not above a little fun at his expense. However, he does brush his nose off, since he has some bark clinging to it that he'd managed to miss.

Also a bit of a nosebleed too, which he finds out as his hands come away from his face, but it's nothing serious. He takes the scrap of cloth and puts it to his nose as instructed, without complaint. "Don't worry about it," Rio notes, a little nasally, since he's pinching his nose. "I'll get you know if anything seems off, though. Thank you. It's appreciated." He smiles.

The group makes it back to camp with no further problems, at least none that are major. "Hello!" Rio calls as the six of them come into camp. "We made it!" Yes, he's happy. Only a single person faceplanting into a tree on a hike is always a good thing!

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