Xanadu Weyr - Clearing
A wide clearing stretches from east to west, the ground packed hard although grass grows across most of it. Trees are strictly forbidden in this space, their danger to the constant draconic traffic reason enough to banish them to the forest that creates a this and sharp border to the north. Where the ground is less trampled, tiny flowers poke their delicate heads out from their shaded hiding places with upturned petals to wave to whoever may be looking.
The cliff looms imposingly on three sides, stretching upwards all the way up the side of the mountain where, high above, Xanadu's Star Stones and the ever present watchdragon sit on a lonely peak. Directly south is a massive tunnel, fully wide enough for even the largest dragon to fly down. Southeast are wide steps leading up to the Caverns and eastwards is the large entrance to the Infirmary. Somewhat north of the Infirmary is a human sized archway that has a frequent quantity of traffic — it leads to the Tavern. Southwest lies the low ledges currently belonging to Xanadu's queens while north and west a broad path cut by the side of the cliff leads to the Feeding Grounds and due north is the spacious trail that leads to the rest of the Weyr.
It's late in the day, evening, and X'hil is here with Kinseth, saddling up the bronze. "Shards, Kinseth, make up your mind… She's not going to clutch today. Probably. Just… Look, we have to… I'm just surprised /I'm/ the one having to convince /you/!" he says, as he ducks under the bronze's neck, tugging on the straps before buckling them in place.
Zevida is out in the clearing, glancing at X'hil curiously during his outbursts. The goldrider simply lets out a soft sigh, tsking and glancing towards Avaeth questioningly. Though there's silence a bit more before she's looking to the bronzerider again watching with amusement. "Shells, X'hil. Don't make such a racket." Is teased as she gently pats her lifemate with affection.
Near the entrance to the tavern, Chaise is leaning against the cliff wall. One knee bent, her foot is kicked up against the stone, and she quietly whittles at a bit of wood, watching the traffic come and go. She's conviently not far from Kinseth who nearly blocks her view, and she gives Zevida a brief wave as the goldrider approaches. "Do you lot always talk out loud to your dragons? It's a bit odd only hearing one side of the conversation you know."
Cenlia has wandered out of the gardens with a coil of rope slung over her shoulder. In one hand, she has a small handsaw. The girl is looking rather dishevelled, with bits of leaves and twigs in her hair and stuck in the folds of her clothing. There are also smears of dirt on her garments, but this isn't unusual for the gardener girl. She has an smile on her face as she walks, occasionally swinging her arms and causing the bronze and brown flits clinging to her sleeves to chitter. The girl's two blue flits are perched on her shoulders, and trill in unison when they spot the riders. Cenlia gives a wave to the riders and dragons, and a cheerful, "Hello," as she wanders closer. Her little bronze firelizard, Charmer, croons cheekily at those nearby.
X'hil /jumps/ at Zevida's voice, perhaps intending to sneak away and explore on his own. Well, with Kinseth, /naturally/. "Er. Hi. Did I disturb you?" he asks, a little sheepishly. And then there's Chaise, and the man gets even more flustered. "Well, not /always/. But, I mean, it's not any less odd to see a rider just zoned out, or with their expressions changing as they hold a silent conversation. And besides… Kinseth /likes/ the sound of my voice." Well yay for Kinseth, because the man sure is rambling. Oh, hey, it's Cenlia! "Hey!" he calls out, waving her over. "Another day in the garden? You should've found me, I'd've helped." he says, almost a complaint. He /did/ promise, and he hates not keeping a promise.
Zevida snickers softly at X'hil, waving her hand at him. "You're probably confusing some of the others." She states, tilting her head towards Chaise. "Nah, I've been talking with Avaeth quietly, X'hil's just loud." Grinning she waves towards Cenlia as she arrives, then, takes to mounting up on her lifemate. "Avaeth'll take anyone who needs a ride. X'hil, take someone, too."
Re're hasn't particularly cleaned up his act since transferring to Xanadu, and in fact has been reverting back to his old, lazy ways. But, at least the Galaxy wingrider is here, now, and ready to mount up with his lifemate Saenkarith, the brown curiously regarding the others already gathered there as he waits, as patient as the rider is lazy. He'll just stay out of the way of things, though, less he get caught with an extra burden.
Chaise arches a brow at X'hil, her lips twisting into a faint grin. "Who wouldn't like the sound of your voice, right?" She's amused rather than truly complimentary, but Zevida's words draw her eyes away from the bronzerider. "Take? Anyone who needs a ride where?" Even with her question she's stepping away from the wall and toward the dragons. Clearly she's not terribly busy with duties, and a dragonback ride isn't the sort of thing she's likely to pass up.
Cenlia grins at the flustered-seeming bronzer, and walks over, waving a greeting to Chaise when she sees her, "Oh, hey." Then, to X'hil, the gardener girl's grin gets wider as says, "Plenty more work left to do. Got a big pile of branches that need hauling, when you have time." And then her grin becomes a bit lopsided and her tone is more than a bit amused as she adds, "As long as Sir Kinseth dun't have to try to save ya from anymore flying ovines." At Zevida's words, Cenlia's brows rise and she asks, "Where ya off to?" She eyes Kinseth's saddle curiously, since she's already over there, and promptly asks X'hil, "Can I come?" Because the last time was such an adventure, obviously. What with all the cesspool-fishing and talk of renegades. But her curiosity has taken hold, and as she stows the handsaw on her belt she shrugs the rope off her shoulder and says to X'hil, "Got some extra rope if ya need any."
X'hil raises an eyebrow at Zevida. "I am not /loud/." he protests. Loudly. Cough. "You should hear Kinseth… His voice is much like mine, but deeper, louder, and with a booming echo." It's every bit as headache-inducing as it sounds. He does /not/ like to make Kinseth angry, he doesn't like Kinseth when he's angry. "I'm not loud." he mumbles, as he finishes securing the straps. "We're," he hesitates slightly. "We're heading out to the wilderness. To hunt for clues." He doesn't really elaborate further, instead pulling himself up onto Kinseth's neck and straddling the bronze's neck with only /minor/ discomfort. Seems his arrow wound is healing nicely. "Anyone who needs a lift, climb aboard!" he calls, then shudders at Cenlia's ovine comment. "Please. Don't tell me there's /another/ ovine in the garden… /Please/." he mutters, eyes closing as he tries to banish that memory. Eyes still closed, he answers, "You can come," he sighs, opening his eyes, "so long as there's not another mention of," and then he looks directly at the gardener girl, with another small shudder, "/ovines/. Deal?"
D'had is already mounted, though it might be hard to tell for sure given Siebith's height in the sky traces a series of lazy loops through the evening sky. Anyone who's watch the blue before would likely know that this is just a warm-up for some of the more .. interesting tricks that may come later.
Zevida shrugs her shoulders, "checking what's out there. Whatever they found last time, I imagine we're searching for them again. Kefai or, whatever. And.. Kate, maybe." Though, Kate's name is said with a bit of disgust. "You can ride with me, Chaise. If you're up for searching." Glancing at X'hil she makes a sound. "You're /loud/." Avaeth kneels down for the other girl, and Zevida reaches down to help Chaise up, should she need the assistance.
Re're is left to chuckle at the others, just shaking his head as he moves to mount up, settling easily amongst Saenkarith's ridges, the brown clearing out, taking off, and leaving space for the other larger dragons to do the same once their passengers are settled in.
Moss green eyes go from Cenlia to X'hil and finally land on Zevida. Chaise silently mouths 'ovines' with curiosity written all over her expression, but 'clues' is even more promising, and searching, Kefai and Kate still more. Whatever the lump of wood she was whittling was supposed to be, it's discarded easily enough - just tossed to the side. Chaise shrugs her square satchel into a more secure spot on her shoulder then lets her gaze go up… up… up to Avaeth's neck. She takes a deep breath, shrugs, then does her clumsy and inexperienced best with clambering up the straps with Zevida's help. "Shells but she's big," she grunts as she swings a leg over the gold's neck.
Cenlia laughs, saying, "Nah, ain't seen one since I got out of the infirmary." She does sound cheerful about that, at least. Giving the bronzer a grin and an amused look at his reactionto ovines as she scrambles up the straps behind him, Cenlia says, "Deal." She isn't particularly fond of the things either, though it is fun to tease him about them now and again. Zevida's comment about Kefai and the rest causes Cenlia to scrunch her shoulders. Not a pleasant topic, by any means. She does grin a bit at Chaise's mouthed comments, but doesn't answer back, instead securing her tools on her belt.
X'hil shakes his head at Zevida, but doesn't say another word. See, he /can/ be quiet… Right. But it's hard to judge noise when you're being shouted at inside your skull. He leans over to help Cenlia up, then makes sure she's safely buckled into the straps, before securing himself in place. "Everyone ready?" he asks, with a scowl and a quietly muttered, "Not /you/." At Kinseth? Probably.
Zevida helps Chaise up and settles the buckles around the girl with a grin. "Yea, she's pretty big. Then again, they all are." She glances at Cenlia, again, watching the girl before she's glancing at X'hil. "Hey, X'hil.. Do you have a visiualization of where we're going? Avaeth'll need it." She's oddly commanding today, perhaps a /bit/ grumpy, still.
Saenkarith continues his circle, tilting his wings this way and and that as he mimics the loops of the smaller blue, crooning now and then at his larger counterparts on the ground below, Re're just settling down in his straps and letting Saenkarith expend his extra energy.
Chaise watches the buckling process keenly, hands held awkwardly up near her head to make sure she's well out of the way. She has no idea how these things work, and it's safe to assume that messing up the process is a good way to get dead. "Anyone ever fall off of one of these th- dragons? Even just standing I bet you'd get one heck of a headache from that sort of tumble." She leans to peer at the ground then just takes a deep breath and finds a handhold on the straps. Way up on a gold dragon, strapped in with a grumpy weyrwomen. Perfect.
Cenlia gets buckles in, but doesn't look too worried about being high up. At least not yet. She can't help but look a bit excited, though. After all, even if last time was a little teensy bit scary, well… the paranoia has faded with time, and it's hard to be scared of some unknown danger when you've already seen just how big dragon teeth are. What could be scary, with a gold and bronze dragon there, anyway? Not to mention the other dragons accompanying them? Cenlia certainly can't imagine. At Chaise's last comment, Cenlia peers over at the ground, curiously, but getting to ride a dragon trumps any fear of heights the former orchard brat might still have had.
X'hil shakes his head, glancing upwards. "Straight flight, it's not that far." he mutters, caught in a rare - very, very - moment of longing for his old brief weyrsecond knot. "Kinseth knows the way." They've been pulling strings to get on sweeps as much as possible, though Kinseth seems to have had a change of heart today. "Come on, /up/." he mutters at the bronze. He's much less of a leader type when he's at odds with Kinseth, the dragon apparently the /real/ leader of the pair. He groans. "Er, Zevida, could you have Avaeth talk to Kinseth? He's not listening to me." This question is asked much more quietly, as if he /really/ didn't want to have to ask it.
Zevida tilts her head back towards her passenger. "Nah, no one's ever fallen to my knowlege. It's fun being in the air while standing." A grin before she gently pats Avaeth. "Do you need me to talk you through this, Chaise? Or will you be fine?" Well, at least she's not snapping at Chaise and making her first ride heck. Avaeth takes into the air, but not before Zevida hears X'hil's complaint about the bronze. "You heard him, Avaeth.."
Kinseth senses that Avaeth's sandstorm ventures forth, engulfing the mind in the eye of the storm. « We need you to take off, Kinseth. »
Avaeth senses that Kinseth doesn't want to, but he can't ignore the gold, either. « Fine. » he rumbles, his voice every bit as deep and loud and booming as X'hil said it was. He'll cooperate for the duration. Might not enjoy it, but he will.
Kinseth launches off of the ground, /finally/, and flies up into the sky. X'hil is frowning at the bronze, slumped in the straps a little. He wasn't happy that it had to come to this.
Avaeth rumbles her displeasure before she's taking off towards the range.
Xanadu Weyr Region - Sky Over the Mountains
The mountains continue to run to the distant horizon to the east and west, stretching out towards the southern pole, green valleys hidden in the shadows of the growing peaks. Here and there, the shadows seem to take on odd shapes, as if cast over domes, not valleys, while on the eastern horizon, there's an odd glow.
Saenkarith sets an easy pace, being the smallest of the dragons on the expedition, the brown always headed south, using the helpful currents over the Sea of Azov, until the the Southern Barrier Range rises in the distance, and the peaks begin to become defined. After what seems like an eternity, the large hole identified by a previous expedition, and the two blueriders still guarding it, are spotted, and Saenkarith turns east, a croon for the others to follow as Re're is leaning, looking for something, though even he isn't entirely sure what.
Cenlia's brows rise as she glances at X'hil, mumbling a half-worried, "What's wrong?" Because if the big bronze dragon doesn't want to go, maybe there is something to worry about? But the flying fairly takes her breath away, even if it isn't a daring orchard getaway. She continues to peer at the ground, fascinated by the passing landscape. There might even be a grin creeping across her face.
After a murmured, "I'll be alright," Chaise is stoicly quiet as Avaeth wings her way through the sky. If her knuckles are white on the straps, there's no one to see it, and a little squeeze of the knees surely won't be bothering the dragon. She straightens at the sight of the hole, eyes widening a bit. "What is that?"
X'hil shakes his head at Cenlia's worry, with a scowl for the bronze. "He's just worried Seryth will clutch without him." he snorts, at the bronze. "He's a terrible sire." Well, from /X'hil's/ perspective it's terrible. Kinseth just worries, is all. They're his eggs too.
Zevida glances down at the hole Chaise points out, furrowing her brows. "Not too sure, myself.. I haven't seen anything like that before…" Trailing off she looks towards X'hil. "Tell him to stop pouting and that Seryth's fine. If he wants to check he can ask her himself."
Cenlia ohs at X'hil's explanation, looking a bit confused. It's not like her da's hens back home ever wanted the rooster around while laying eggs. But then, dragons are hardly poultry! She tilts her head to glance at Kinseth, but then goes back to eyeing that hole in the ground, saying, "Is that candidate still missing?" Great subject change there, from one unhappy topic right to another one.
Chaise frowns a bit herself, trying to see details of the hole far below them. "Clearly it's something, there are dragons down there." She looks up at X'hil and her brow smoothes a bit. "Hmm. I didn't realize the male dragons were like that with eggs too. So much to learn." It's more to herself than to Zevida - and she criticizes X'hil for talking out loud to his dragon! Louder, and with a gentle tap to Zevida's shoulder, "What are we looking /for/, do you know?"
X'hil mutters, and glares at the bronze just briefly. "I've been trying to tell him— oh. Sure. /Now/ you check. Gah. /Dragons/." he grumbles. He glances over to Zevida then, with a frown. Kinseth isn't a rooster, no. He's more of a prospective parent. Is it so bad to want to be there when his egg-bound offspring enter the world? He missed one clutching because of poor timing, and still has no idea what's happened with the second, Lusiath's. They should have been laid by now… "So, what's the plan?" the man asks, blinking absently at the odd glow on the horizon, before muttering, "If she even /was/ a candidate." as the man's only response to Cenlia's question.
Zevida frowns back at X'hil before smiling down at Chaise. "Yea.. We should check it out." She states, glancing towards the other riders for confirmation. "Shall we?"
Cenlia makes a face, remembering what they found the last time. Her gaze sweeps downward, eyes narrowing suspiciously at the landscape. The girl mutters something about "odd shadows" before she, too, is peering at that glow on the eastern horizon.
Saenkarith is spiraling, crooning as he keeps himself tilted to ease Re're's examination of the ground below, the brownrider waving his hands to get the attention of the other others, pointing towards towards the glow in the east, while the brown passes a better explanation on to Seryth and Kinseth. « We should land, and approach it cautiously. » Of course, he's merely a brown, and merely a rider, but that's the direction he's going, spiraling downwards, leaving the others to follow should they wish.
Avaeth huffs softly as she takes down after Saenkarith, spirialing down gently so not to give Chaise a bit of a scare.
Kinseth is taking the order to cooperate very seriously apparently, as he starts to glide towards that odd glow. X'hil pats the bronze's neck, frowning absently. "Sharding… Seryth is /fine/, stop sulking at me." he mutters at the bronze, who never wanted to leave the Weyr in the first place. "Clutching's /days/ off, yet."
Chaise tightens her grip further yet as Avaeth begins the descent, but all in all she handles it pretty well. At the very least her face is neutral and calm and she doesn't gasp or squeal. Her eyes drat to the glow and she leans forward a bit so her voice will carry to Zevida's ears. "Is that what we were looking for?"
Seryth emerges from *Between* with a sweet chirrup of joy, but more softly than she normally would. She glides to avoid crossing the flight paths of the others, circling a bit, then tilts on a wing and wavers a bit in her descent. The eggs making her less agile than she normally would be in the air. Thea just waves to the others that she'll follow them.
Unlike before, Rogawani seems more comfortable in his spot behind the weyrwoman on her dragon's back. He's not quite as stiff and he hasn't latched on to her for dear life… yet. For the time being he clings to the riding straps, looking down with growing confidence now that he's been on a dragon a few times now. "I hope there's more than dung and decayed food this time." He calls out, but his voice is nearly drown out by the wind rushing by.
Saenkarith's neck> Saenkarith trumpets to the second gold that suddenly joins them before he's dropping quickly towards the ground, without a nervous passenger to worry about, and he's soon settling on the plain that seems to stretch forever to the north and east, folding his wings, and looking up expectantly for the others.
Cenlia continues to peer at the ground, mumbling to X'hil, "Should come back when it's lighter and check them valleys," and she indicates the wierd shadows. But then Seryth's appearance in the sky causes her to glance upwards again, and the gardener girl grins a bit, "Guess Sir Kinseth doesn't have to worry now?" Cenlia blinks and peers at Rogawani, having caught the words 'dung' and 'food' but little else. The girl gives him a very odd look.
X'hil sags a little in the straps, relaxing this time, rather than his defeated slump of before. "See, Kinseth, I /told/ you." he tells the bronze, his tone more relieved than 'I told you so'. The bronze warbles softly at Seryth, then follows the other dragons to that odd glow, much less sulky all of a sudden. "Mm, yeah. Coming back when it's lighter sounds like a plan…" He frowns at the shadows, and mutters absently as Kinseth flies in to land.
Thea peers back at Rogawani with a grin, chuckling just a bit at that. She inhales some of her hair as it's whipping by her face and coughs slightly before answering, "Me too. Otherwise our gardener will want to stay here to plant her orchard." She's eyeing the terrain then and waiting her turn to land. Dropping suddenly after the others, the gold lands with less grace, coming to a bit of a jarring stop.
Xanadu Weyr Region - Sprawling Plain
Sprawling plains stretch to the north and east as far as the eye can see, a gentle roll to them as they go. While in places, the tall grass is bountiful, sending golden stalks skywards, in other places, there are signs of lightning strikes - charred patches here and there darkened by the burnt ground. And, stretching the east, is a large stripe of burnt out land - the wildfire that caused it long extinguished, though the first signs of new life are just beginning to reappear.
To the south, an oddly shaped dome rises up, clearly curved despite the heavy vegetation that clings to its sides and grows heavy on the slate stone that is its roof, though it seems that one portion of the dome is uneven compared to the rest.
Chaise maintains her resolve even in the face of the rapidly approaching ground, and even manages not to bite her tongue when Avaeth finally lands. "Eggs… or a big missing gold dragon, right? Is she… not answering when" she waves a bit aimlessly at Avaeth and Seryth. "When they call to her? I sort of thought dragons know where the other dragons are."
Ducking out of the way of flying weyrwoman hair Rogawani tries to offer a small grin which ends up faltering when they begin to decend. "I'll pass on the orchards if they're going to be out here." He manages to get out, but that is as far as it goes as the egg-heavy gold drops after the rest of the others. The boy lets out what can only be described as a squeek as the dragon comes to a sudden stop. Coughing, the boy tries to shake off the feeling that he left his stomach up a few hundred feet. "Take that… ground." He tries to make a joke to pass off his not-so-manly reaction to the dragon's landing.
X'hil shakes his head. "Dragons can… hide. I know, I had Kinseth hiding from my mother's green for three turns." Looong story. There was a flight. Okay, maybe not so long. He doesn't say much else then, instead unbuckling himself and Cenlia from the straps, and sliding to the ground. He certainly does seem to be moving more confidently now, his wound just about healed, more or less.
Zevida nods in agreement with X'hil. "They can avoid answering, which, in turn'll make them unfindable." The goldrider slides down from her lifemate's neck and offers a hand up for Chaise as Avaeth crouches down. "Just slide down, Chaise. Shouldn't be too hard. I'll catch you."
Cenlia is grinning broadly as Kinseth lands, and maybe laughs a bit, only a slight nervousness there. She hops down and looks around, waving a greeting to Thea and Rogawani once they're on the ground.
Seryth curves her neck around to her passengers and croons an apology for the rough landing. Thea giggles at Rogawani's comment as she undoes the buckles and throws a leg over the queen's back. In one motion, she slides down the sloping shoulder and lands, bouncing a few steps to keep from landing on her face and so Rogawani has a clear spot to land. Seryth, meanwhile is eyeing the odd bulge. "She wanted to see what Kinseth was emitting to her," Thea says nonchalantly to the group in general, to explain their arrival. As if she weren't dying of curiousity herself.
Catch her?! Chaise gives Zevida frankly doubtful look, and waves a dismissive hand. "I'll be find. If I end up in a pile unconscious, somebody call a healer." She manages to slide down with a fair amount of grace anyway, letting out a tiny grunt when her feet hit the ground. Tucking a bit of hair behind an ear, she lifts her hand to the newly joined Thea and Rogawani. With hands in her pockets, she looks around the burn-smattered clearing. "Huh. Hiding dragons, who knew?"
Kinseth sidles up nearer Seryth, with a muted croon. He really does seem to be awfully worried about her of late. X'hil groans, and hides his face in his hads for a moment as he tries to compose his expression. He wears a grimace when his hands lower again, perhaps not the intended expression. "I… hope he didn't… disturb you?" he asks of Thea, with a sigh. He scuffs at one of the burn marks with the toe of his boot absently, and frowns.
"It's okay, Seryth, you just startled me." Rogawani says to the dragon, even if he's not expecting any sort of response. Sliding his leg over, the boy tries his best to follow Thea's path, although he's not quite as practiced with the large dragon and so he when he lands he ends up stumbling forward before catching himself in a crouch. Dusting himself off the boy gets to his feet and offers a small smile towards Cenlia, Chaise, and the riders, as if his stumble had somehow been planned. "And I got dragged along just incase you guys stumble on dung again." He attempts to joke, although more likely he was brought alog to carry things. "So, is that what we're here for?" He motions towards the dome shape.
Siebith swoops to land after the larger dragons of the group, D'had slipping to the ground with practiced ease and strolling forward to join the rest of the group. Dark eyes surveying the area from where he is even as the others discuss.
Cenlia does giggle at Rogawani's dung comment, giving him a grin. The girl looks around, peering at the dome suspicously. The girl's gaze doesn't stay put for long, though, and she kneels down by some of the burn marks in the ground, looking curious and saying, "Lightning?" And then she frowns a bit, "Dragons breathe fire…" After all, there is a missing dragon, right? She glances at the riders, straightening up and glancing at those nearby.
Zevida smiles and moves aside for Chaise to dismount before she's looking around, practically ignoring X'hil and Thea while they aren't doing anything much productive. "Not many dragons like to hide.." And, with that, she begins to take off, Avaeth taking after her.
Seryth whuffles briefly at Kinseth's neck, the young queen happy to stretch her wings and be with friends. Thea smiles at the others, then jumps to reach a hand out to help steady Rogawani, but the boy has it under control before she can help. As she drops her and, she blinks at X'hil, "Kinseth? Oh, not at all! Nice to be out of the office." She looks around uncertainly at the burned places. "It looks different…was that bulge there before?"
X'hil nods at Thea absently, frowning as Zevida takes off. Better follow, he supposes. "Hey. What's that glow?" he does ask, nodding to the glowing spot idly. Kinseth is not interested in following at the moment, though no doubt he would if Seryth decided to. "Golds don't flame, they just… don't… Shards… Don't suppose she's been feeding her /firestone/?" That's … not good. Right?
A hand lifted to her brow, Chaise peers at the dome to the south. She grunts softly, then starts trekking after Zevida as she seems to have some sort of purpose or destination in mind. X'hil's mention of the glow makes her brow furrow and the looks that way. "Is it… a fire?" A boot scuffs at a charred bit of a grass and she tips her head to the side. "Would a gold flame if she did eat firestone? Don't tell me it's never been tried."
Returning Cenlia's grin, Rogawani can't help but be pleased at getting someone to laugh at least. However his eyes quickly follow the gardener's, frowning a little at the fire damage. "Well those are definitely lightning strikes." He affirms, having seen them before in his travels. The wide strip however, well… wildfires aren't often let to burn near the holds. "Queens don't chew firestone… or at least they shouldn't." He glances to X'hil echoing his own sort of disbelief. "So… unless our missing dragon has a friend or two, I'd guess wildfire." Even so, the mere thought that there could be more renegade dragons is a bit frightening. With an unsure look, he glances between Zevida and the others, eventually deciding to stay closer to X'hil and Thea for the time being, as you don't want to stray too far from your 'ride' in these places.
"Golds don't…" D'had starts at Cenlia's remark, though he leaves off when X'hil has begun to say much the same about the same time. Eyes are drawn towards the glow that the bronzer has pointed out. "You think?" he half questions, almost more to himself.
Cenlia walks over towards the glow, sticking close to the riders. She doesn't know about golds or firestone, and even less about how dragons flame, but she nods at the mention of wildfire. And she looks somewhat reassured about golds not breathing fire… after all, weyr dragons don't hurt people, but what about renegade dragons? The girl keeps the riders in sight, but she has her coil of rope handy. And the handle of her handsaw is sticking out from her toolbelt pocket, and she rests one hand close to that. Not that she'd be fending off renegades with a handsaw, but, well, it certainly beats a shovel.
Zevida glances back at the speculations of a gold chewing firestone. Her brows furrow and she shakes her head. "That can't be. They purge it out if they even get it into their bellies. It makes them sick. So I doubt that they'd sucessfully get the gold to chew the firestone…" She trails off, slowly moving closer towards the pit with Avaeth following.
Thea walks with the others towards the bulge. As they draw nearer to it, she ponders, "Is it… safe? The ground, I mean…" The glow has her curious as well and she does want to see what's causing it. The rocks underfoot clink as she dislodges some of them. "These sound like… glass when they hit," Thea mutters, stooping down to pick one up. "Odd, it's all…bubbly-looking." She tosses it in the air a few times, "And lightweight." The talk of queens chewing firestone has her shaking her head, "I dunno if they even can even do it. Seryth's never tried."
X'hil shakes his head. "Who'd /try/? It's said to render them infertile." Though everyone would probably be much happier if that were the case with Kate and Lusiath, really. Everyone except maybe Kinseth, and even the bronze is more interested in Seryth than finding Lusiath. He shakes his head, and heads for that odd glow.
Xanadu Weyr Region - Burning Crater
The stripe of charred land continues to stretch to the east, and rock formations are tumbled, revealing that the area is one of those so recently plagued by the earth shakes, minor as they are by the time they reach the more inhabited parts of the continent. The rocks, however, were not the only thing that fell victim to the earth shakes, for it seems that previously there had been another large dome settled here, amongst the plain. However, the roof has fallen in, revealing that this particular dome was harboring a natural gas deposit.
The large hole is nearly a hundred meters in diameter and thirty meters deep, the crevice emitting not only a bright glow that could be seen for miles on a clear dark night, but also a certain sulfurous scent that seems to linger. Here and there, the sides of the crater itself are burning, giving off heat and light for any who dare venture near.
X'hil pales a little at the massive crater, and takes a slight step backwards. "If… If there's this here, and that other crater, the one with sand in, at the /other/ place… /Shards/. There could be … /more/." Lusiath could have clutched /anywhere/.
Zevida continues to stride forward to the glowing area, peeking down and Avaeth mimicing the movement, staring. Then she glances at X'hil. "You think she clutched here?"
With each person seeming more than willing to back up the idea that golds don't chew firestone, Rogawani seems to let that thought slide away as he looks towards the glow in the distance. When his foot crunches into the odd sort of ground surrounding the glowing crater. Reaching down, the boy claims a piece of the strange glass-like ground for himself rolling it in his fingers. "Strange." He comments to himself, staring around him as if he had just found himself on another planet. "Has… anyone ever seen anything like this before?" He has to ask, looking at the riders as if expecting them to have the answers.
D'had edges closer, perhaps pushing the limits of just how close to the edge anyone should get. "You," he starts, sending a glance towards Zevida and Thea, "Are the experts on that." That being the where a gold might clutch. "Ask them where they'd go," he suggests, gesturing over his shoulder towards the dragons.
Cenlia wrinkles her nose at the smell, and one look is all she needs, and she steps back from the glow, shaking her head, saying, "That other hole was full of sand… hot sand." She eyes the bump to the south and makes a face, "If she did, what're you gonna do if ya find it?" She scuffs a foot at the odd ground, but shrugs, mumbling, "Better check them valleys though, looked awful round."
Chaise's long legs have no problem keeping up with Zevida's strides and she reaches the crater almost at the goldrider's side. She sniffs at the sulphuric air and her nose wrinkles up a bit. Glancing over at Rogawani, she grinds a toe into the strangely textured ground. "Why would she clutch here? It seems awfully unstable to me-" she trails off, holding a hand out toward the glow. "Because of the warmth?" One brow slides up and she flicks a hand vaguely toward the south. "She could have clutched somewhere warmer than here. Or, shells, Ista or Igen or anything." A lift of her chin indicates Thea vaguely. "Obviously they can go *between* when they're egg heavy." No, she is not helping, but she does nod at D'had. "That's an idea."
Thea stops at the edge and just inhales in surprise, "This is incredible." She peers down inside, shaking her head vaguely to Rogawani's question. "Heard of burning mountains, but never seen one. And this is… just a hole. Odd." D'had's suggestion causes the weyrman to giggle, "Seryth says there aren't any herdbeasts near enough or nice lakes to bathe in to entice her to clutch out here." She shrugs, agreeing with Chaise, "They could be anywhere, here or…somewhere nobody would think of looking."
Zevida grunbles softly, shaking her head. "I haven't seen anything like this.. But, it's not good for them to between when egg heavy. Could possibly damage the eggs." Her head tilts slightly, looking around. "I don't think they're looking for comfortable.. They're looking for secret." And with that, Avaeth is taking off into the air to scope for anyone else.
X'hil shakes his head slowly. "Not /here/. Not in /that/." he grimaces at the gas crater. "But if there's one crater with sand in it… There could be /others/." He frowns, nudging the glassy rocks with the toe of his boot. He frowns a little at D'had. "That's a bit like picking a specific needle out of a pile of other identical needles. There could be /dozens/ of these things, maybe /more/! We might never find them all." There's a soft keen from the bronze back on the plain, and the man curses under his breath. He's gone and upset Kinseth again, hasn't he? Smart move there… /Smart/.
Shifting the toe of one boot into the odd ground with a bit of an uneasy look, Rogawani doesn't draw any closer to the spectacle than he has to. The piece of strange ground, however, is pocketed for the time being. If nothing else it will serve as proof of the story when the weyrbrats inevitably disbelieve such an unusual tale. "I bet the quakes caused this." He takes a guess, knowing the tremmers that have been happening in this area. "Wouldn't want to go poking around the dome back there if this is what's underneath. Not unless you want to be a crispy critter." Wiping his forehead on one sleeve Ro' steps backwards and then holds that sleeve over his nose, not caring for the smell.
D'had steps back from the crater, to a safer distance from its edge, once he's satisfied with the look he's gotten. Hmm… "Well that's a point to consider." he comments, "They might not be looking for comfort, but are they going to want to haul food for her, or let an egg heavy gold wander far enough to find it?" Its a thought, nothing more.
Chaise minces back from the edge, a first sign of caution in the face of this gaping, glowing hole. She pales just a touch, as if only now realizing the spectacle in front of her is really real. A soft clearig of the the throat and she's back to neutrality, though a hint of a crease mars her brow. "With all the vegetation an aerial search isn't going to work very well obviously…" Long fingers tap on her thigh as she thinks. "Is it creating a warm air pocket above it? If the dragons fly low enough would they feel it even if it's hidden by trees?" She shrugs, not sure what all has been done.
The gardener has moved away from the smelly crater, nose wrinkled at the fumes. Her flits, which are still clinging to her shoulders and shirt sleeves, chitter unhappily at her. She glances at the riders and then back at the crater, stooping down to collect a piece of the odd ground for herself. She examines it curiously, but doesn't say anything.
Thea just rolls her eyes at Zevida, "Of course they're looking for secret. But D'had wanted me to ask Seryth, so…" She shrugs, unconcerned that the other weyrwoman seems to think Seryth's perspective isn't helping. "D'had has a point, they do need to feed her. Hard to cover up the bawling noise those critters make. We need to keep overflying the area, I think. See and hear more that way than on foot." She steps away from the edge and begins picking her way back towards Seryth, who is churring comfortingly in response to Kinseth's keening.
X'hil keeps glancing back to the plains now, where Kinseth is, with a concerned frown. He calms down slightly when Seryth makes comforting noises at Kinseth, but he still looks quite uncomfortable, like he'd much rather be with the bronze, maybe even safe at home. "Shards. Should've listened." he mutters softly, grimacing at the crater. "We won't see anything tonight, it's getting dark." he mutters, glancing up at the sky.
Cenlia runs a hand through her hair, glancing back at the dragons and then at the riders, nodding and commenting, "No point in looking when we can't see anything." She gives the glowing crater one last, wary look, then shrugs and turns around, and starts walking back, not really wanting to breathe in any more of that funny smell.
With a final, teetering peer down into the crater Chaise lets out a sigh. "Certainly an interesting find at any rate. Maybe we can make some use of it." Though with the smell and the fragile ground, what exactly that would be is anyone's guess. Nibbling on her bottom lip she turns to survey the area again even while her feet are taking her along after Cenlia and the riders.
Thea continues down the slope to Seryth's side, where the gold nudges her Rider anxiously, causing the weyrwoman to laugh in disbelief, "Again? You can't possibly be!" But she is already pulling herself up the gold's side and buckling herself in. As Seryth spreads her wings and crouches, Thea calls towards the others, "She's hungry - again. Ate this morning, but…Yes, Seryth, I know it was only one." As the young queen lifts heavily off the ground and labors to gain airspace, she winks *Between* as soon as she's in clear air. Thea's chuckle is left hanging hollowly in the evening breeze.
D'had chuckles and nods, "Think we've got more than enough to think on," he agrees, "But X'hil is right. Aren't going to get much done in the dark."
X'hil jogs back to Kinseth, though he's moving a little stiffly. His arrow wound is greatly improved, yes, but not /entirely/ healed. He picks up the pace when Seryth takes off, swinging up onto Kinseth's neck quickly, and helping up any passengers who might need a lift. "Someone should report back to the Weyrleaders when we get back, have sweeps sent out." He'll probably get suckered into that, though. As soon as everyone's aboard, the bronze takes off, and pops between, reappearing over Xanadu's clearing, and coming in for a quick landing.