A Breath Away From Death

Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Grounds

Cradled in a cup shaped bite out of the mountain, this wide, grassy flat has become home for Xanadu's weyrling dragons. It's set surprisingly high above the level of the beach, visible from the eastern side of the grounds where a long path snakes its way down the hill to the sand dunes below. All other sides to the grounds are bordered by the hard granite cliffs, two entrances clearly visible. One is merely human sized and leads deep into the mountain, to the Caverns. The other is broad and high, the entrance to the Weyrling Barracks.

The time has come. The Weyrlings have been slowly extending their airtime over the past two months, seen gradually flying higher and further under the careful eye of the Weyrlingmaster and AWLMs. Thus far they've been flying a sort of 'sweeps' formulated especially for Weyrlings - one that encircles the airspace above the weyrling grounds and the weyrling beach, down the coast of Xanadu, out over the Caspian Lake to the point in the Sea of Azov where the windswept rocky islands are and back to the weyrling sky. There's also been assigned limited message-running and transport to local areas that can be reached by flying straight. The lessons in visualization - begun the first week of impression - have grown more complex over time and exams have been unrelenting. Scores have shown they're at least ready to try (only as Yoda might say, 'There is no try. Only do.') and so V'dim deems it's now or never. To that end, the weyrlings have been assembled on the grounds and the Weyrlingmaster is there to do inspection before they mount up.

Ka'el is here really for show. He's no AWLM and by no means is he V'dim, but he his the Weyrleader and these Weyrlings will eventually become his riders, and thus he's dabbled in on their training a little here and there when he could. It's good to see what the wings will be working with before they actually become one with the wings! He's here, as is Kanekith who looks to be in an 'overseeing' mood too. He's watching the younger dragons with swirling eyes, sizing them up through sight alone. Ka'el, on the other hand, takes on a more hands-on approach! He joins V'dim with the inspection of the straps and things, not even minding if his check is re-checked by the Weyrlingmaster himself. He's been the WLM since before Ka'el first laid eyes on Kanekith's egg! The man knows his stuff. "S'a beautiful day to fly."

With some gear clutched under her arm, Kera trots along at Moncerath's side. The young green's loping pace is matched by the weyrling. The dragon's hide is well oiled, extra effort went into the task this morning. Smiling to herself, perhaps over something that passed between weyrling and the green, Kera waves a free hand to the other weyrlings that arrived before her. The young green warbles to her greetings to the other dragons, young and old. Shoving her arm in the jacket and fumbling with gloves, the weyrling gets herself mostly to rights before dipping her head towards Ka'el and V'dim when she gets within range and salutes. "G'morning Weyrleader, Weyrlingmaster." Her steps pick up a bit to catch back up with Moncerath, where she starts fidgeting over the straps.

Surprisingly, Innes isn't altogether thrilled about this day. Yes, lessons in going between ultimately mean the freedom to travel (which Kairoikyriath will must certainly enjoy), but they're also a sign that the end of weyrlinghood isn't all that far off. Which means… responsibilities. And paperwork. And probably more paperwork. None of which sit very high on Innes' list of ideal priorities. Nevertheless, she's here, double checking Kairoikyriath's straps as she waits for the rest of her fellows to arrive. V'dim receives a salute and Ka'el receives another, along with a quick flash of a grin. "You ready, Kera?" she calls out when she spots the other girl's arrival.

V'dim salutes the arriving weyrlings. They know his ways by now, how he does inspection, what he expects of them. "Weyrlings, when your dragons are harnessed, get into your gear, please." V'dim's orders are crisp and to the point. While the Weyrlings are donning jackets, gloves, goggles and helmets, he busies himself inspecting those oiled hides. Any dragon found with a crack or a tear will be left behind. Those harnesses are checked - oh you'd better believe it! Checked, double-checked and maybe even triple-checked, if you count the ones he yanks on after the Weyrleader has tugged on them, buckles jiggled to make sure they're fastened correctly. The Weyrleader, having been saluted briskly when he'd arrived, is merely grunted to when he comments upon the weather. V'dim… isn't much of a conversationalist, but you'd think he could at least manage that topic, right? A flick of pale blue eyes skyward, that grunt and the pull of his wrinkled mouth is, at least, agreement with Ka'el; it is indeed a beautiful day to fly - the skies are cold and clear, pale sunshine, weak and barely able to begin melting the last of early spring snow. The weyrlings too, get a once-over - their leathers and boots ought to shined and they had better be presentable, for who knows where they're going to wind up? V'dim must find them so, for he doesn't call anyone out but orders gruffly, "Mount up! We'll take the inverted V formation in the skies. K'ael, if you will, take the point on the left, Innes, take the one on the right." V'dim will be at the apex following them all and waaatching with an eagle eye. He says nothing further, just swings aboard Isobeth, clips himself in and makes for the skies in one fluid, well-practiced move.


Xanadu Weyr - Weyrling Sky

Framed between the gentle curve of the cliff holding the main Weyr and the uneven coastline, there are no obstacles here - no jutting rocks or odd thermals. A pocket of calmer air, this patch of airspace is dangerous for a very different reason: the presence of Weyrlings whose flying ability is exceedingly unpredictable.

"Tighten this," murmurs Ka'el to a shaggy-haired greenrider after tugging on a dragon strap that could be just a bit more secure. No one wants to lose anyone on this field trip Between! L'mar's eyes flash with a look of defensive defiance, but he quickly does as told. No need to piss off the boss before he's even officailly his boss, right? And V'dim is not one to stand for foolishness! Grinning a bit, Ka'el moves on and checks the others with V'dim before stepping back once they all have been dubbed passable for flight. He flashes grins to Kera and Innes while Kanekith wing-stretches for the ladies, human and dragons. Rolling his eyes, Ka'el heads back to his vain lifemate, pausing to listen to V'dim's instructions carefully. He nods. "Perfect! Alright ladies and gents.." he climbs up upon his bronze and straps himself in securely after checking his own gear. Goggles are placed over his eyes. "Let's have some fun." (And by fun he means face the icy, deathlike grip of Between…the suffocating silence…but you know, fun!) Kanekith takes off with heavy downbeats that lifts his brilliant body high, higher, in the sky. He finds his position easily, as he's in the front to the left. Ka'el keeps an eye out for Innes and Kairo.

Kera works her way around Moncerath, double-checking the relatively new straps and cinch points. More than glad to step out of the way when V'dim steps up to inspect, she moves to rub her gloved hand lightly on her dragonmate's neck of jawline absentmindedly. Innes' questions draws a little grin. "As ready as I'll ever be. You two?" Her attention slips around the grounds briefly, taking in the nervousness hidden in fidgety gestures or ecessively tugging and checking straps. When orders are given, she finishes tugging her gear on and scrambles up to strap herself in. Once done, Moncerath follows suit, taking her place in the formation and wings upwards.

Innes is, of course, up to snuff, at least when it comes to Kairoikyriath's well-being and preparation. Her leathers are in good shape, but her boots already show a scuff or two that she picked up in the time it took to get from home to here. Oops. But imperfect boots aside, she's ready (if not eager) and mounts up shortly after instructions are given. "About the same," she calls over to Kera, ounding rather lackluster about the whole affair. Kairoikyriath does a bit of adjusting, twisting her neck to stare down the line and make sure her fellow weyrling dragons are prepared to her satisfaction (they are!), before she puffs up a bit at the fact that she's flying point along with Kanekith. Apparently the bronze isn't the only one with an impressive ego. The very moment Innes has her goggles on and is safely strapped into place, the young gold takes to the skies after Kanekith. Unlike her rider, she's harboring no reservations about any occasion which allows her to show her fellow weyrlings how it ought to be done. She finds her position to the front right, with Innes glancing toward Ka'el and silently instructing Kairoikyriath in a minor angle adjustment to keep her in line with their bronze counterpoint.

The dainty Isobeth wriggles her behind and leaps skyward with a flourish of wings, her clear trill a lure to the rest of the dragons to fly with her. V'dim might be grim (when is he not?) but she is SURE they will all get this lesson easily. *Betweening* is what dragons do, after all. It comes naturally to them! Once they are all aloft and in formation to suit her rider, her contact with them carries the scent of new growth and the humidity of spring, « You are all to take the sight of these grounds and fix it firmly in your minds that way, no matter where on Pern you are,imaging it will always get you home.» She waits, but they should all have practiced this image in the past weeks they've been flying. Then as she hovers on the upsweep of icy breeze blowing off of the Sea of Azov, a green vine of instruction weaves in tendrils that firmly works into their minds and grips it, sharing with them another picture. This is of an arid, windswept desert with reddish stone and sand, below them a huge edifice that rises, prominent from the plains. « Share this with your riders. And now… we go! » And she whisks there. Hopefully with all of them.

Kanekith suddenly disappears -=* BETWEEN *=-

Moncerath suddenly disappears -=* BETWEEN *=-

Kairoikyriath suddenly disappears -=* BETWEEN *=-

Isobeth suddenly disappears -=* BETWEEN *=-


Darkness and cold like you can't imagine. Nothing to see, feel or hear, except the beating of your heart.


Then, as suddenly as you entered the emptiness…


Sky - above the Red Butte

The sky streatches around you. To the north, you can see the hold rising as the mountainrange does. To the south, you can make out the beach, a white crescent of clean sand etched against the green blue sea. Below you is the Red Butte. From here, you can sense the pride that dragonriders must feel when seeing it.

This is it! Flying with the Weyrlings is the prequel to The Fun. Ka'el vaguely grins to himself. How long ago now was it that he first betweened with his class? Soriana and M'kal and Mur'dah and the rest? Has it been so many turns? He glances to the side, watching the golden hide to Kairo as she moves into place, keeping her in his periphreals as the leave land further and further below them. He turns in his seat just enough to look back over his shoulder, eyeing the string of Weyrlings, finding Kera, then back to V'dim before looking ahead again. His grin fades, though not out of distemper. It's time to concentrate. Even experienced riders have…accidents. The Weyrlings need to focus, and so does he. Kanekith flies smoothly, unworriedly. Pft, he's got this. When hasn't he? Isobeth's instructions really aren't for him, though he does note the destination. Ka'el half smiles, then hunkers down in his seat. He's always loathed the cold. And the silence is… Suddenly around him as Kanekith jumps between! He closes his eyes, thinking of the Weyrlings. Make it through. Make it through! Nobody die or get lost, okay? Kanekith remerges on an upbeat of wings and a triumphant cry! Or is that a call to the young dragons behind him?

Kera grasp the straps tightly, letting go briefly only to readjust her hood and goggles, as the dragon under her grabs the air and surges the pair higher. Keeping Ka'el words of fun in mind, her grip on the straps loosens a bit. Glancing around she notices they are slightly out of formation, a couple seconds later Moncerath's wing dips and corrects, realigning with the V. Kera signals that all is well with her and Mon, and soon her dragonmate and passing along the instructions. A gesture that could be a nod moves her head as the weyrling concentrates. Isobeth orders Moncerath to 'go' and then there is cold blackness. Then the air suddenly warms against her face and Moncerath's excited warbling announces her success to everyone within earshot. The grinning weyrling strapped to her back is alternating between pumping her arm in the air and smacking the green's shoulder affectionately. Her gaze is however darting along the formation for her fellow weyrlings.

Innes is definitely, one hundred percent not nervous. At all. There's absolutely no way that fear is contributing to her reticence in any way. Nope. After all, this isn't her first trip between, not by a long stretch. Of course, it's never been her responsibility to make sure that everything goes smoothly when it comes to making the jump. Kairoikyriath, on the other hand, does not seem the least bit concerned. They've trained for this. She's Kairoikyriath. What could possibly go wrong? Aside from… you know, disappearance and death. But really, those are such trivial things! Innes' hands tighten into fists as her gold companion relays their instructions. Her gaze narrows into a squint as she concentrates with more focus than may be strictly necessary to retain the image which Kairoikyriath seems to have grasped with ease. The sound of her gasp is lost to the cold emptiness of between. Just when she begins to fear that they've done this incorrectly and will never escape, there's light and sound and Kairoikyriath's triumphant call mixing in with those of her fellow weyrlings. They did it! Doing her best to keep her trembling frame steady, Innes turns to glance behind her and make certain that they've all made it through.

"-aaaaaaaaah!" That's Praela, coming out of between. It was cold and dark and! …she shuts up promptly as she realizes she's out here with everyone else. And they're probably staring at her, unless the wind's been obliging and carried her scream away. Can she bribe it to do so? Maybe that's what her hair-flounce and giggle is about.

V'dim is…not celebrating. Does he ever? It's…possible…there are occasions? He hand signals Ka'el and Innes to circle the red butte in a wide, banking maneuver. Presently the aged weyrlingmaster is counting dragonpairs. One little…two little… Well two BIG and then all the little-er ones until… Praela arrives. Eleven pairs. Whew! He can relax…as much as V'dim ever does. His carriage is ramrod-straight and his face, well, it's grim. Like it always is. There's the merest cheek-twitch of relaxation though, for not losing anyone. Yet. It's ironic how it's always those little 3-letter words that getcha, isn't it? And lest they get complacent… he has something to show them. Isobeth's vines unfurl and twine with the young minds once more. The picture shared with them all is of a small clearing that looks like an old ramshackle campsite, just big enough to land their small group of dragons in. The two half-fallen down buildings - barracks? - sit across from each other, both covered with ivy and decay. « We go now. » she says and again winks out, hopefully leading them along.

Kanekith suddenly disappears -=* BETWEEN *=-

Moncerath suddenly disappears -=* BETWEEN *=-

Kairoikyriath suddenly disappears -=* BETWEEN *=-

Isobeth suddenly disappears -=* BETWEEN *=-


Darkness and cold like you can't imagine. Nothing to see, feel or hear, except the beating of your heart.


Then, as suddenly as you entered the emptiness…

Survival Camp - Campfire Square

During the day this area is a small clearing that sits just big enough to land four dragons in it, though by night it becomes an inferno where a fire is built up that licks its stray bits of lights to the ground just before the barracks nearby. The two barracks sit across from each other in strong contrast, the leader barracks being a comfortable modern barracks that looks clean and kept in good eminence while the follower barracks has a sharp destitute about it, looking that the ivy and decay is a day away from making the whole thing collapse.

They arrive in velvet darkness and in a different climate, the stars overhead indicating that they've gone quite a distance from Xanadu's timezone. V'dim seems to have planned this - they've done the night flying around the Weyr, after all. The weyrlings won't be able to see in the pitch dark below, but their dragons will. Trust is key! And so the croon from Isobeth indicates all dragons accounted for after which her spring breathes a cheerful, « You are to land in the clear spot below and dismount. Bring your electric torches. » So mysterious!

Who is screaming like a banshee? One by one the Weyrlings are reappearing around the butte, and each time Ka'el can feel a little bit of tightness loosening from his belly. He's not sure what the protocol is for a lost between time and space Weyrling might be and he's in no hurry to ever have to find out! Kairo's easy to spot, and he gives a thumbs-up to the gold rider as he corrects his position in the formation, circling around in a wide arc. The screaming girl is too far beind him to give her a proper look, but the 'wtf' radiates from the group. Ha! Poor girl. He doesn't entirely blame her though, if this was her first time ever. He straightens in his seat, Kanekith voicing another call before settling into silence. He enjoys the view, as does Ka'el who leans over a little for a better look at the too-familiar butte. But! Not for long. Isobeth is snaking through Kanekith's thoughts to share her destination, which is relayed to Ka'el. "Oh…right.." To himself. Lost in the wind. And then, lost between as he goes beats after Isobeth, disappearing into darkness and exiting to the same. Nighttime. Ka'el's eyes open instinctively wider as he borrows Kanekith's vision to look down below. He leads the landing party with a soft thud. Big dragon!

The shiny bulk of Kairo is noted, and Toth, Zhansith, Cullenth are spotted among the gaps along the formation. They are filled in quickly, the screeching sounds of Praela get an eye-roll obscured by the goggles. Leaning forward a bit, she releases her hold on the straps to give a reassuring touch to Moncerath's neck. The young green adding her voice to the growing song the dragons create. Kera lets her dragon have a giddy moment before correcting their position to tighten up the V line on their side. Again the greenling pair focus, concentrating on their instructions and visualizations. Coldness that she assumes is black, since her eyes are closed, hits her face once more then not so cold. Blinking, and making sure her eyes are really open, it's just nighttime. FRowning as more instructions come from her dragonmate, Kera shrugs and urges Moncerath down with the others.

If anything is going to settle Innes' nerves, it's Praela's screaming. Her lips curl into a wide grin as she hears the other girl shriek her entrance. Even if she's still trembling slightly with the adrenaline and nerves, at least she isn't screaming. Ten points for Innes! As long as she's better than Praela, she's doing just fine. Kairoikyriath remains smugly in formation while her rider settles back into a slightly calmer frame of mind. She survived! All is good. Aaaaand then Isobeth is passing on further instructions, and Innes groans quietly. Not again. She grasps the image in her mind, and then after only a few more wingbeats they're in the darkness of between again. She breathes in, out, trying to find that calm again, but she's still feeling a little unsteady when they emerge in the darkness. It's a good thing that Kairoikyriath can see in the darkness, because Innes isn't the least bit prepared to help in the landing department. The young gold settles on the ground, and her rider slowly follows instruction and dismounts, nearly forgetting her torch in the process. She's just going to… take a second to lean against Kairoikyriath's side before they have to move anywhere. Not because her heart is still beating like crazy or anything, nope.

Okay, so it's not Praela's first time between. But it was the first time with Prylith, the first time where she might have to face the possibility that maybe, if something was wrong, it might possibly have been her fault. It wasn't, of course. Wrong or her fault. Really, it never is. Not her fault. Sometimes things are wrong, there's no arguing that. Not everyone can be as good as she is. Not even upstartish gold-diggers (er, -riders) like Innes! Praela takes a deep breath before they between again, and this time she emerges in silence. Oh, this? This is eaaaasy… and never mind her hands tight on the straps. They come in for the landing, and Praela smiles charmingly as she swings off Prylith's back, fluttering fingers and eyelashes to one of the brownriders while she collects herself and her torch, dangled carelessly between her fingers. No point in rushing, really. What's the point?

Over the turns, V'dim has seen it all from flaily, screamy weyrlings to wet spots on their dragon's backs. Better alive and screaming than dead and silent in Between, forever lost. Betweening, milestone that it is for the weyrlings, is for him a time to test whether the weyrlings have learned their drills well enough to, well…survive. So it's do or die. Thankfully none have died today. The…day is still young though? And so Praela earns naught but a very tiny smirk, the Weyrlingmaster finding a grim sort of dark humor in her discomfort. Good! Best not get too comfy with Between. So now, on to his point regarding that Between is dangerous! He has his electric torch in hand and swings stiffly down, flicks it on and waits for the rest to join him. "This way," he says briefly and leads them off into a… marsh. A marsh? Yep - a marsh. Not… Mire Hold's marsh though. They'd still be in daylight if it were Mire. Why is it always a marsh? Who the h knows? That's where they go until… they enter a cave. And there, V'dim shines the light upon the wall, waiting silently for them to take it in. He'll just allow the sight to speak for itself.

Survival Camp - Cave of the Entombed Weyrling

The darkness here would be absolute if it weren't for the faintly glowing lichen growing in the corner where wall and floor meet. This cave isn't natural, in fact, the walls haven't been smoothed out. Whoever was digging here stopped after only a few hundred paces in, and probably for good reason. Encased in the solid rock is the partially unearthed skeleton of a small dragon and rider, the bones so old they're no more than imprints in the stone that have filled with minerals and recrystalized.

Ka'el is down off of Kanekith and lingers just a while by him. The dragon's foreleg is given a few affectionate rubs, and then he loosens a single strap before catching the dragon's grand snout between his hands and giving his nose a rub between the nostrils. Just a man and his dragon. <3 He leaves him then, light in hand to help usher the Weyrlings along. "I wouldn't recommend you get lost because you're too busy not paying attention.." he advises no on in particular. Just a general 'get a move on and stop dazing!' sort of statement. He gently nudges Innes as he passes by her, the golding given an illuminated grin before he continues on. Towards adventure! Towards marshy land, which he picks his way through with slow and high steps. "Watch your feet!" Toward a cave, which has Ka'el's expression turning grave. He doesn't say anything. He's seen this before. Now it's their turn. He pauses near the rear, herding in stragglers.

Kera unhooks herself from the straps after the weyrlings have all touched down and sidled out of the way to make room for others to land. Climbing down, she leaves her dragonmate to mingle with the others and starts fumbling in her satchel for a torch. Finally, there it is at the very bottom of her bag, she fishes it out, and it a couple of clicks on and off to make sure it works. Slinging the bag around to sit further back on her hip, Kera steps over to Innes. A quick chin tip and look to Praela and back top her friend as if to say 'did you hear that little girl squealing?'. As they are led off towards spongier ground she murmurs to the goldling "At least we know where home is this time." Eyeing the dark cave, a nervous glance is sent around to the others before the group shuffles forward after V'dim. When her eyes focus on the cave wall, the light she holds dips towards the floor as if offering the weyrling something else to focus on other than the frozen scene half dug out.

One of these days, Praela is going to get a punch courtesey of said gold… digger, but that's (hopefully) not today, because Innes is still getting her feet back under her. Her heart rate is gradually returning to normal by the time Ka'el gives her a little bump, and she's able to return his grin with one which does a decent job of faking the confidence she doesn't feel. Kairoikyriath swings her head around to make sure that no one is encroaching too closely on her space before she settles. She did everything flawlessly, after all, and deserves a moment to relax. Innes presses her hand against the gold's side for a moment before setting off after Ka'el, her torch pointing the way to reveal the marshy ground before her. Where is this place? And more importantly, if one of her fellow weyrlings trips and falls, is she going to miss it in the darkness? She's quiet as she moves along, ignoring some of the whispers she hears passed along between her fellow weyrlings, although Kera does get a brief grin in reference to a certain screaming girl. "Yeah," she mumbles back, but finds herself short on words in the darkness. There's something… off about this place, and it's not until she's in the cave that she begins to fully feel how unsettling this whole thing is. Did V'dim bring them here at night on purpose, just to add to the mood?

Stragglers? Oh yeah, Praela is one of those. She smiles sweetly to Ka'el, fluttering her eyelashes as she permits him - oh so graciously - to usher her along the path. Kera… is utterly ignored. Why should she give the greenling acknowledgement? Seriously, there's no point to it! Maybe, someday, she'll acknowledge Innes (quite possibly including her fist), but today is not that day. Today, she flutters along to the cave, eyeing that ghastly frieze before summarizing. "Eeeeewwww."

You know V'dim has it in him to have done just that? Make things more dire mood-wise by, well. Can't get more dire than a dead Weyrlingpair frozen in rock, can you? And yet… here they aaaaare. To add to it, he says nothing, nada, zip the entire way. A grim, dark, slog through unfamiliar territory at night to who-knows-what? He remains to one side, impassively taking in the reactions, measuring the impact (probably going to summarize notes in their files for Cyrus to peruse later - things like: 'disassociative' and 'traumatized', etc). He allows the moment to streeeeetch, eyes snapping to anyone who dares make light of it until uneasy silence reigns and might seem unbearable. Finally, he says tersely, "Always, always remember your lessons. Do not leave Betweening to your dragons. Do not fail to visualize clearly where you are going. Picture yourself arriving high up, in clear air so this-" he jerks his head to the hapless pair, "-won't happen to you." He's so cheery, ain't he? "You all know your way home. When you are ready, come on back. Isobeth and I will be waiting." He then turns off his torch and fades away into the darkness. Wait, what? He's leaving them to solo it on the return? You bet he is! If they don't know the weyrling sky like the back of their hands by now… they're doomed!

Ka'el doesn't venture close to the gruesome scene. Seeing it once sort of engraves an image like that in one's head …which is probably the purpose for these cyclic trips! He watches Innes go forth, then Praela, whose smile is returned with only a fathom of one that could be lost in the shadows. And then others until they're all near enough to see and come to their own conclusions. He lowers his torch down with an exhale, mentally reaching for Kanekith as he listens to the Weyrlingmaster's warning. He slowly nods in agreement, even if he is too far back to really be seen by the majority. He leans against a cavern wall, torch dimmed down and arms crossing now. And then suddenly….V'dim is gone! The man has a way of melting into nothingness, doesn't he? One minute there, the next… who knows. Cough. Yeah, he's still here. For now. "Betweening without a clear head isn't the best idea," he advises. "Clear head, clear skies. If you're upset or afraid…don't." Said with a vague grim note. He leans away from the wall now, righting himself. "That includes drunkenness. ..Which should go without saying." But sometimes, some things might as well be said, just it can be said that they have been. "Good luck." A light smile offered, and then he turns to head back through the marsh and to his dragon. He has things to do back at home…as usual. See you, Weyrlings!

Kera cuts an annoyed look to Praela'safter the girl's outburst, her flashlight just happens to focus on the bluelings face. Can one be blinded by an electric torch? Probably not, so today's most likely Praela's lucky day. She should roam around the Hall a few candlemarks if she wants something really gross to 'ewww' at. Rolling her eyes away from the girl's squawks, Kera works her gaze back to the grim reminder of the potential consequences in front of her. V'dim's somber comments cause her to consider the forms stilled in one instant of time. When his voice is quiet for a time, she pers around and realizes, the old rider is no longer in the cave. Her flashlight flickers this way and that to give the cavern another look around. Nope, he left it seems. And the Weyrleader slips out as well after his cautionary words. Looking back to the ancient weyrling pair, she shivers and starts making her way out. She's seen dead bodies before, but this one seems to unnerve even the young healer. Steps hurry a bit, shuffling against the cave floor til she's got stars overhead and the young dragona come back into sight.

Thank you, V'dim! This is exactly the kind of thing Innes needed to see before she gets back on her dragon and attempts to make her way home all by herself. If she weren't already nervous, this might just be unsettling, but as things are, it's truly unsettling. Her flashlight lingers on the frozen image, and while her expression remains impassive, she doesn't move or react in any way to V'dim's words. Ka'el's exit receives a glance and a sort of vague nod, before her gaze goes back toward the entombed bones. She can feel the other weyrlings leaving and the room slowly emptying, but she doesn't make a move to go herself Because if she does, she has to attempt the , jump home alone. It's not a difficult thing, truly. She knows what she's doing. Kairoikyriath is more than confident enough for the both of them. But for the moment, she's just going to stay here, until a certain gold forces her to return to her side.

Uh… no thanks! Praela is just fine without ever visiting the healer hall. She might chip a nail! Or get a stain on something. So… nope! She smirks at Kera, then returns her gaze to the unlucky fellow entombed here. Ew. This time, at least she repeats it silently, lips moving with the word before she tugs one of the weyrling boys out with her. They're going home! …together. Even if, ultimately, in the dark of between, they'll be alone with their dragons. Praela's not thinking about that.

Kera 's flashlight scans back and forth on the ground ahead of her, not wanting to trip over something hidden by shadow of grassy clump. The muted green shape of Moncerath seperates from the clustered of dragons to meet her weyrling and Kera's arms quickly slip around the muzzle the nudges her chest. For the moment she ignores everything else, even Praela dragging off some poor guy. A few minutes of communing with her dragonmate then the girl is prepared to turn her attention elsewhere around the small clearing. Most of her fellow weyrlings have found their way to their dragonmates' sides, but she frowns a little when Innes isn't spotted. Attention goes back to the cave entrance. "If she hasn't come out in a few minutes, I'll go check on her." is murmured and her hand rubs gently along Moncerath's cheek.

A few minutes pass, and Innes doesn't reappear. The weyrling has found herself a seat on the undoubtedly dirty floor of the cave (so much for those spotless leathers) and has propped her torch up on its end so that it casts light upon the ceiling. It's not much, but even that illumination makes the darkness seem less imposing, even if the image in front of her is no less ghastly. She's not even so much seeing it as she is simply staring in that direction, her mind on what they've heard and see tonight and what's to come in the future. It's a lot, and it's creeping up on her more quickly than she'd like. Outside, Kairoikyriath begins to shift with impatience as other weyrlings take to the skies, and her rider has yet to return. The young gold gets to her feet, lumbering over to Kera and Moncerath. You're still here. Go get her rider.

Kera cants her head to watch as first one pair take to the skies then vanish after a suitable time, then another, and another. And back at the cave entrance? Nothing, nadda, zilch, zip. No Innes storming down the path. Another couple of pairs leap skyward and she notices the anxious queenling lumbering over. It's obvious from watching the young queen's body and motions that she's eager for her weyrling to appear, and perhaps expects Kera to make it so. "Keep Kairo company will ya Moncerath…We'll be right out." A gentle dip of her head towards the young queen, an affectionate pat on teh green's neck, and Kera is trudging back to the eery cave. Clicking her torch back on, feet take her back into the tunnel til the upturned torch of Innes's brings the chamber into view. "Nessi, would you happen to know anything about a slightly agitated young queen outside?" Offering her free hand to help her friend up off the floor "Come on, we've got plenty to think about, but brooding over it here is NOT the way to go." She leaves off that the older dragons and other weyrlings have already made it home, hopefully they have at least.

Innes finally shifts her gaze when she hears footsteps approaching the cave again, and a quick consultation with Kairoikyriath tells her exactly who's coming back to fetch her. Not that she couldn't have guessed. "She's fine," Innes answers dismissively, waving away her dragon's behavior with a flick of her hand. The young queen never likes to sit still for long, so her rider isn't particularly moved by the fact that her dragon is itching to go. If she gave into that need all of the time, she'd never be allowed to sit still. Even so, she obliges Kera by taking her assistance in getting to her feet. "It's not so bad," she says after a pause as she leans over to collect her torch. "It seems like the perfect place to think." If nothing else, it's a stark reminder that things could be far worse.

Kera isn't exactly avoiding looking at the forever silent pair, but she's not going out of her way to stare at it either. After giving her friend a hand up "Moncerath's keeping her company, but I think she much prefer yours." Hitching her shoulder satchel back around to sit as she likes it to, Kera shrugs to Innes. "It's not so good either. There are other places to sit and think that won't mess with your head quite as hard as this one Nessi." the light from her torch drifts this way or that and she moves behind the goldling, as if intent on herding her out whether she wants to be herded or not. "Moncerath says she's hungry, I bet that Kairo is too." That's right, Kera's not above trying a bit of manipulation to get her friend out of the cave. The alternative involves Kera dragging Innes out kicking and screaming.

"Sometimes it's good for Kai not to get what she wants," Innes says decidedly as she looks toward the cave's exit, and the dark path that will lead her back to the waiting gold. Kairoikyriath might be more willing to settle down if she could see this cave with her own eyes, but given that she's being left out, all she wants is to take to the skies again and prove once more how talented she is at betweening. "Maybe I like things messing with my head." The words are muttered under her breath as she takes one more glance at the entombed pair. Apparently she isn't to be allowed to stay, whether she wants to or not. While she doesn't fall for the manipulation (because it's not all that subtle), she huffs out a reluctant, "Fine." If she wants to sit in silence, perhaps she'll just have to come back to this grim place another time, when no one knows where to find her.

Kera manages to get her friend going in the right direction, smiling a little to her friend and speaking as Kairo's advocate for the moment. "You've obviously grown delirious, no doubt brought on from lack of food or sleep. Perhaps both." Flashing her torch ahead, she steps out to the night again. The smaller of the dragons warbles softly as if encouraging the larger that all is well. Peering back to Innes with an arched brow, "I can pass that along to Journeyman Cyrus if you like? I'm sure he'ld be interested in some conversations." The greenling moves to her dragonmate's side, spending a couple of minutes giving the green attention, she sets about double checking the straps, casting glances to her friend as she does. "Are you gonna be alright Innes?" Her preps continue and she climbs back up to settle on Mon's back.

Innes scowls down at the ground beneath her feet as she points her torch along the marshy patch, careful to watch her step. Her thoughts may be drifting, but she's not overly eager to get a face full of… whatever's lurking out here. "I get plenty of sleep," she argues absentmindedly. Food might be more questionable. Kera's second comment receives a growl and a sharp, "I said things, not people." No, she's no more fond of the idea of Cyrus than she was the last time they met. Ahead, Kairoikyriath is rustling and shifting a rather unnecessary amount, eager for her rider to reach her side. When Innes does, there's an affectionate (or hurrying?) from her gold companion which pushes her toward the straps. With the aid of her torch she does the best straps check she can, before mounting and beginning to fasten herself in "I'm fine," she assures with a thin smile that's likely lost to the darkness now that she has turned off the torch and stowed it away. "Go on, we'll be right after you."

Kera has no choice but take Innes for her word when she insist she is fine. Well, also Moncerath's assurance from her fellow dragon that all is still well." Settling her satchel and tightening the cinches that hold her own, Kera urges her dragonmate away from the young queen "Alright, but don't take too long, or will be coming back to check on you." And she probably will probably have a huge knot or two with her. "See you two soon." Then Moncerath is leaping upwards and climbing higher. After a few long seconds, the pair disappear, returning to Xanadu.

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